LATAKIA, Syria - As evening fell on Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in western Syria, the first drones appeared. Then more, until 13 were flashing on radars, speeding towards the airbase and a nearby naval facility. The explosives-armed aircraft were no trouble for Russian air defenses, which shot down seven and jammed the remaining six, according to the country’s defence ministry. But the failed attack in January last year was disturbing to close observers of drone warfare, writes Michael Safi for The Guardian. Continue reading original article
The Intelligent Aerospace take:
December 4, 2019 - Safi's piece for The Guardian looks to recent attacks in Syria and the strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia point to drone swarms as a likely tool in the future of aerial warfare. Safi notes that Israel is already using swarming UAVs to overwhelm Syrian air defenses. In addition to offensive capabilities, drone swarms could have prevented the boat-borne al-Qaida suicide bombing of the USS Cole.
DARPA has undertaken a project to use drone swarms to make military urban reconnaissance more effective. The program will advance two key areas to increase the effectiveness of small-unit combat forces operating in the urban environment: swarm autonomy for agile, complex, collective behaviors for intelligent movement, decisions, and interactions with the environment; and human-swarm teaming, enabling swarm commanders to infer, interact with, and influence swarm system behaviors.
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor