The wide open frontier of drone technology

Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before they merged into Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Several recent articles reveal research into weaponizing drones:

  • Russian nuke-armed drone sub
  • DARPA trying to develop swarm capability
  • successful test of a swarm
  • converting full size plane into drone with drop-in package

12/8 – Bill Gertz at Washington Free Beacon – Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Drone Sub – Published reports in Russia indicates their military is developing a drone sub that can travel 6,200 miles, dive to 3,280 feet, and zip along at 56 knots.

Most troublesome is it will equipped to carry a  nuclear weapon, possibly up to the massively huge size of 100 megatons.

Concept for the “Status-6” weapon is to drive it into a port and destroy the port, ships in port, and the city around the port along with killing huge numbers of people downwind of the large radioactive fallout pattern.

12/10 – Next Big Future – DARPA wants to control hundreds of air and ground drones from single controllers by providing a selection of swarming tactic options – Currently a drone operator can control one or maybe a couple of drones at a time. DARPA is working on software that would allow one operator to control a swarm of small drones.

Instead of having several operators control one or two drones flying each of them separately around a building to clear the building or scouring an area, a specific swarm command could be issued which would allow an operator to control dozens or perhaps 100 drones simultaneously as they cooperatively perform a task, such as clearing an entire urban building without any further command.

1/10 – – Pentagon successfully tests micro-drone swarm – One hundred three micro drones were launched from three F/A-18s. The six-inch drones formed a swarm that worked together, making joint decisions. Each drone communicated with the others.

1/4 – Vocativ – New DARPA Tech Turns Military Planes Into Drones – DARPA has a few successful tests of a drop-in kit that can fly an aircraft. Has worked on a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, a Diamond DA-42 plane, and on a Cessna 208 Caravan twice. Each test included a simulated system failure which required a departure from routine procedures.

Loooong way to go before full-sized helicopters and planes can become automated drones, but work is underway. Four successful experiments under controlled circumstances is a superbly good start.

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