The idea that a large number of small and cheap units, operating simultaneously, can cause serious damage to the enemy, frankly, not new.
Hannibal in a naval battle at Pergamum (184 BC) threw on the decks of enemy ships pots with poisonous snakes. In Kievan Rus Princess Olga, according to the legend, burned the disobedient city of the drevlians tied to the legs of pigeons bundles of lighted straw: returned to bird nest to set fire to the roofs of log cabins. In the Middle ages the cities ' defenders threw hives right on the head stormed the walls of enemies.
During the Second world war to the battle for Japan has developed the project "x-ray". It was supposed to drop on the Japanese cities bombs... bats. Each mouse carried a few grams of incendiary. It was planned that the "saboteurs", scattering around and landing on houses, they will start fires.
Of course, as we remember, in the case of Japan nuclear bombing has been effective bats. But it also showed that in a global nuclear war will be no winners. And the emergence of a modern and controlled "bats" — the drone — has led to the fact that the old idea of the massive cheap attack got a new life.
For example, the British defense Secretary Gavin Williamson a year ago said that the transformation Fund the British military authorities were tasked to develop a "swarm squadrons of networked drones, able to confuse and overwhelm enemy air defenses". Similar ideas to develop the U.S. military, Israel and several other countries.
Thus, the draft of the U.S. air force called the LOCUST the emphasis is on joint work of up to 30 unmanned aircraft type Coyote in support of the tasks of information gathering, surveillance, target designation and intelligence.
Company Dynetics fulfills the project of launching from transport aircraft C-130 and return to his "flocks" of aircraft Gremlin. The program provides the use of reusable drones that can perform air operations in complex combat environment. It is planned that the drones Gremlin run out of range air defense of the enemy, and after the task returned on Board the C-130.
Lockheed Martin and Charles River Analytics was given the task to create architecture of swarm systems to teach a swarm of UAVs complex collective behavior, information exchange, decision-making and interaction with the environment. That is, flying drones, acting as a network under the control of artificial intelligence will be able to interact with each other, influence each other and make correct logical conclusions and perhaps make decisions.
That at this stage represents the concept of the battle Roy, "Army standard" talked to a leading military expert Alexei Leontevym.
— The concept on which the Americans, by the way, have been working involves the use of a swarm of drones if there is the use of air attacks, primarily against countries that have well-developed air defence system and there are other related protection systems, for example electronic warfare, — said the expert. — A swarm of drones plays the role of the first tier: causes the enemy to work, that is, to identify himself and "score" the information channels of air defense with multiple targets. Possible Roy has to destroy enemy air defenses, to the second echelon of attack tools — piloted — could much easier, with minimal losses, to carry out their combat tasks.
The Americans say that the usual aerial target drones and a swarm of "look" for radar the same way, and supposedly, these drones will be spent ammunition. But it is not so: it All depends on what range are detection complexes and even built air defense system, what her asianromance.
That is, it's not so simple as they imagine on paper and in their beautiful cartoons presentations. Last year at the exhibition in India, the Israelites showed a cartoon. It a swarm of drones, or rather, loitering munitions, flying, finds our s-300 and destroys them. Everything is beautiful, but not very realistic. Because given the small size of drones inevitably arise technical problems : weak electric circuit and energy sources, low-power avionics and so on.
It turns out, the drones need to be large enough. The Americans have recently experienced such a system based on aircraft EA-18 Growler. They raised two of these aircraft converted to a drone option, and the plane piloted by the pilot that they ran. Flew, and even something they did.
This design is interesting. It has its advantages but also its drawbacks. During the fighting these drones alone will not take off. Besides alter the plane — too expensive. Indeed, the drone was originally designed as a cheaper counterpart of the aircraft. Sometimes even one task completed and are not returned.
Americans also showed the concept of communication drones with reconnaissance aircraft of the type "Poseidon." The idea is that aboard those planes happens to control the drones that fly far into the depth of enemy territory, extract valuable information and maybe even die at the same time, but time to pass her on the airborne command post. In the combat information is the most valuable.
Also an option for the control of drones from the aircraft of the 5th generation F-35, made by stealth technology. That is the stealth bomber sends a swarm of drones, they are "open" objects of the enemy, and the F-35 without entering the zone of air defense, striking identified targets.
So the concept of using a swarm of drones for military purposes exist, and they are quite dangerous. Because drones are becoming more Autonomous, automated. Now the operator is not necessary to sit constantly with a joystick and control a specific drone specialist is just a reference point and intervenes in the control of the drone only, for example, the use of weapons or in emergency situations.
So, if drones are to fly with certain programs, the pilot will only choose targets, and a drone will hit them, then in principle we get the so-called "long arm". And if these drones will be many, then they will have to be considered.
We have in this respect, too, the work is going, and soon the developers will come to a certain result. We have understood what to do and how to do it. In addition, to realize the concept as planned, the Americans, quite difficult technically. And in the case of the strong opposition of electronic warfare (EW) — "jamming", irradiators, etc. — is generally problematic. When attacked our base Hamim, then tried to create a swarm of drones. There are about ten of them were, if not more. But the joint work of air defense systems and electronic warfare systems has led to the fact that all these attacks were unsuccessful.
Is, say, a high level. A swarm of drones to special forces — what is it?
— The Americans and Brits have very small drones that they used during combat operations in Afghanistan and Syria, experienced in street fighting. In intense combat situations these small drones that fly for a short distance and allow the operator to see the environment, for example, around the corner. In a dilapidated building to see which floor your, and some others. That is, the intelligence functions of such "kids" can do.
— Now there is active development of artificial intelligence, and there are programs of its application in a swarm of drones...
— That's true. There are, for example, that in a swarm of drones will be distributed roles: one, say, takes the role of a signalman, the other scout, the third strike means... And if you run a "crowd", you get a certain network, which will be under the control of artificial intelligence to read a situation and either conduct further exploration, or upon detection of the targets, destroy them.
— How is the near future?
— I think that in the medium term there will be such a technology. Although the problems are many — first and foremost with communication, increasing the duration of the flight, stealth... Because if a swarm will fly in the city — of course, it will be detected even visually. In addition, for example, the entire "detail" easily find the station meter range. And since these drones are very weak electronics, to destroy them, including electronic warfare, will not be difficult.
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