The wide open frontier of drone technology
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 – Phys.org – 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.