The United States Army will test the world’s biggest drone swarm
AREA-I’s Air-Launched, Tube-Integrated, Unmanned System 600 (ALTIUS 600) and Raytheon’s Coyote drone will be among the drones in the swarm.
The swarm will converge on a target area, use infrared sensors and electronic warfare payloads to detect enemy forces, fix their positions, and feed information back to networked ground troops.
According to Maj. Gen. Walter Rugen of the army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team, spectators in the upcoming exercise will witness the “extensive use” of electronic warfare and an interactive drone swarm.
“We’ll be launching them pretty much, you know, Monster Garage-style, anyway we can,” he told The War Zone. “Which again shows, in my mind, just the flexibility of our air-launched effects initiatives, because we can launch it from the air, we can launch it from the ground, and we can launch from fixed-wing, rotary-wing, any type of ground vehicle.”
Rugen explained that previous small drone swarm trials inspired the decision to test a swarm of up to 30 drones.
Before helicopters arrive, the plan is to use networked drones to sense, detect, identify, and potentially strike enemy positions.
The swarm will scan vast terrain autonomously, sending video and targeting data to manned platforms.
The drones will be passive or active, with electro-optical or infrared imaging cameras, electronic jamming equipment, or a powerful warhead for strikes on enemy targets.
Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) tested a similar concept based on the deployment of small-unit drone swarms.