The hottest upcoming drone swarm

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Upcoming drone swarm

news: constantly make changes in the air. Code project will enable multiple UAVs equipped with code system to realize collaborative sensing, adaptation and response to unexpected threats and new goals. The system can share information and plan, assign mission objectives, make coordinated tactical decisions, and have the ability to respond in a high threat environment

the consumable grey partridge micro UAV swarm can perform intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions and other short-term combat missions at low altitude. They can be launched in the air, at sea or on the ground, and can perform missions in the form of small or large colonies

according to the US Air Force magazine station, although the initial combat capability is limited, the drone swarm technology is likely to enter the battlefield in the next few years. However, it may take some time to integrate AI and autonomous technology to cope with high-end operations. Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force in charge of acquisition, technology and logistics, said about the drone Swarm: I like the swarm technology, and I think this is what the future war will look like

grey partridge drone swarm

before entering the air force in February 2018, Roper worked in the office of strategic capabilities of the Ministry of defense for six years and promoted the development of the grey partridge project

grey partridge is a consumable micro UAV, which can be launched from various military aircraft and fly before larger and more expensive remote-control aircraft (Note: high-end UAVs such as MQ-9) or manned aircraft to perform intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions. In 2016, the office of strategic capabilities, in cooperation with the U.S. Naval Aviation Systems Command, tested this advanced drone Swarm: three f/a-18 launched more than 100 micro UAVs at the naval aviation weapon station in Lake China, California

Roper believes that considering the complexity of the war, the grey partridge swarm UAV does not have pre programming when cooperating, but forms an organic whole through the decision-making of the distributed brain, and can adapt to each other like bees in nature. Since each grey partridge can communicate and cooperate with other grey partridges, there is no leader in the swarm, and a single UAV can naturally enter or leave the formation

drone colony development dilemma

however, in February this year, Roper said that it was even difficult to find a shooting range for drone colony tests. He believes that the Ministry of defense must adjust its thinking when developing this technology

I went to them and said, I want the fighter to shoot 100 micro UAVs. They said, well, tell me the flight plan of each UAV, and I said I didn't. They will do their own things, but I can draw an airspace to ensure that they will not leave. We have to change from you need a flight plan to you need a flight boundary, which is OK

but he added that before the drone swarm enters the model development, it really needs to answer some questions: how to prove its ability? How to test and evaluate? Who will equip it? Is it a weapon system? Does the platform have autonomous clustering and collaboration capabilities, or do all platforms have autonomous clustering and collaboration programs

experts in charge of test and evaluation, operational test and Airworthiness of the air force must creatively find out the answer. Scott wierzbanowski, the elf project manager of the tactical technology office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said that researchers are still thinking about how drone swarms fight, how to add artificial intelligence algorithms and autonomous capabilities. But he also believes that drone hives are fundamentally still effective combat equipment

darpa elf and code drone swarm project

drone swarm has applications in all fields of war. In terms of high-end operations, in the anti-interference environment with left and right rack entry/area denial (a2/ad), rivals with comparable strength will deploy multiple sets of integrated air defense systems, making airspace entry extremely difficult. In this case, a large number of small, low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles can saturate enemy radar systems, reducing the risk that the performance of unmanned aerial vehicles and expensive unmanned machinery is equal to that of thermosetting materials

welzbanovsky said that low-cost UAVs can share sensor data and fight together. If they are shot down, the cost of losing a UAV is also acceptable. We really believe that this threat environment is very dangerous, but we must be as close to the enemy as possible to determine what the threat is

now, considering a secret operation in a loose combat environment, the C-130 has not been announced to launch 2~4 small unmanned aerial vehicles from the air, deploy sensors or broaden the path of C-130 and other aircraft to perform missions

in this combat scenario, welzbanovsky said: they do not need the death global eagle or fighter to suppress enemy air defense. In fact, they can solve problems by themselves, and the way may be simpler, which is also consistent with the goal of the combat squadron. It is one of the key advantages of drone hives to be able to cope with combat scenes of different complexity, which is difficult for traditional combat equipment to provide

last April, DARPA awarded dynetis a 21 month contract for the third phase of the elf project, worth $38.6 million. The project focuses on the development of drone hive technology that can support this decomposition type of operations. Specifically, the goal of the elf project is to prove that multiple UAVs can be safely launched and recovered from a C-130 far away from the enemy defense zone. The elf drone is 4.267 meters long and weighs 725.75 kg when filled with oil. This is much larger than Roper's grey partridge drone. Welzbanovsky said that the size of the elf drone is similar to that of a cruise missile

after the elf drone swarm completes the preset combat mission, the C-130 will use a horizontal docking station similar to the aerial refueling docking device to recover the drone in the air. Tim Keeter, chief engineer of dynetics and deputy manager of the elf project, said that unlike the recycling basket, the docking device can firmly lock the elf drone through a mechanical mechanism

in the third stage, DARPA plans to conduct the first large-scale demonstration and verification in January 2020: recover four elf drones within 30 minutes. In the future, a C-130 can recover up to 16 UAVs according to operational requirements. In addition, the elf UAV can also be launched from F-16 fighters, B-52 bombers and other aircraft without changing the speed: the experimental speed can be changed arbitrarily, requiring large-scale modification of the carrier. This may significantly increase the size of drone colonies

at the beginning of February this year, the team of dynetics company carried out a flight test of horizontal docking station in Lake China, and the actual elf UAV was not used in the test. In early April, the company plans to test the avionics system of the elf UAV on the piloted Lear jet. Kit said: the avionics system is the brain of the UAV. If there is any problem during the test, the pilot can take over the control of the aircraft

this summer, the elf UAV will conduct its first flight test in order to prove its ability before conducting a collaborative test with the UAV. Unlike Roper's grey partridge, the elf drone does not use artificial intelligence or autonomous behavior systems at least at present

however, another project that welzbanovsky is responsible for at DARPA, the deny environment cooperative warfare (code) project, is developing autonomous technology for drone hives. He said: autonomy is very important for UAV swarm cooperative operations, because in this case, combatants will be more at the strategic or regulatory level. The warfighter will provide the commander's idea, and the swarm system can develop an action plan based on this idea

at the end of last year, DARPA tested the ability of code UAV to adapt and respond to unknown threats in the anti intervention/regional denial environment at Yuma proving ground, Arizona. The drone can initially interact with the mission commander, but when the communication is degraded or lost, the drone swarm proves that it can still complete the mission without the control of the warfighter

welzbanovsky said: the swarm behavior in the experiment is the cornerstone of autonomous formation, which can cooperate and adapt to mission needs and changing environment

DARPA will continue to lead the code program until April this year, and then it will be transferred to the Naval Aviation Systems Command. However, welzbanovsky said that he sincerely hopes to put the elf and the code project together. Although these two projects are designed separately, it will be very valuable to combine them for demonstration and verification. We can see what tasks the drone swarm can really perform

welzbanovsky currently talks with relevant agencies of the Ministry of defense every week. Some people have expressed interest in the project, but their interest has not yet turned into investment

humanitarian assistance

drone colonies can also be used for humanitarian assistance, such as disaster relief. The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is working with the white brothers Institute and the Institute of Dayton university to carry out the bee colony and search AI challenge project. The project will be held at the same time as a similar competition in the UK

last April, representatives of the British Defense Science and technology laboratory came up with the above idea when they visited the white brothers laboratory. At that time, wildfires were raging in California, and another wildfire also caused serious losses to Britain. For the humanitarian challenge, the two laboratories contacted non-traditional small businesses and universities. Mick Hitchcock, senior technical adviser to AFRL small enterprises, said: because they do not want to participate in military missions

the challenge requires contestants to study how to plan and control small drone colonies when drawing fire maps. The research team must use the UAV design and sensor tools based on the AFRL platform and artificial intelligence technology, and propose the most effective way to complete the task. Hitchcock said that the UK forestry authority would release videos of problem descriptions for all teams. Although the challenge focuses on humanitarian relief, it actually fits well with the point of interest of the air force

The first task scenario of the

challenge made the team familiar with the software. The subsequent scenes increased in difficulty as the challenge progressed, and reached a climax in the final showdown on March 29-31

AI components

Roper acknowledges that the U.S. air force needs more AI, and it is also a challenge to adapt cross system software and joint technology to traditional acquisition rules

Roper said that maintenance tasks have been proved to be fertile soil for AI work so far, but in systems that can affect tasks and life, the use of AI has become increasingly risky

however, researchers are making progress. Welzbanovsky said: This is no longer the case in 10 to 15 years. This is a plan that can be implemented in the next year or two, and it can be used with our existing weapon system or its modification

(Yuan Cheng)

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