What is a drone swarm?
This article will discuss everything we know currently about the Military’s plan called, AMASS, which is their plan to develop a fleet of drones that will work autonomously.
Military drone swarms could be launched from any location to subdue enemy forces. The drones are designed to be expendable, if needed. Reports are that the Pentagon is preparing to spend up to $78M on this program.
The swarms are intended to operate through a mesh data sharing network. We described mesh networks in a previous article. Mesh networks use different pathways to deliver the fastest, in this case data.
If history is any indicator, the winner(s) of this potential contract will see continued success. Ukraine has been a proving grounds of drone technology. Companies like Aeronvironment have demonstrated great products and been awarded repeat orders due to the effectiveness of products like the Switchblade series of drones.
Vayu drones has been using similar language used by the military to describe their Knucklebuster series class of drones. The plan for the AMASS program uses a lot of the same buzzwords. Drones like the mitigator are designed to be “operationally disposable”, Vayu aims to be leader in Autonomous freight delivery, and has discussed their mesh network plans in Saudi Arabia.
It will certainly be interesting to see the program move forward, and see who is involved. A handful of companies have the ability to be selected for this major project, the demands placed on the makers of this drone swarm technology are extensive.
The Air force is looking to add 1,000 drone pilots to its Collaborative Combat Unit. They state that adding these drone units will dramatically increase the safety for pilots.
Riskier missions might not even involve any direct human interaction in the war zone. The drones are intended for protection with the ability to counter enemy attacks on crewed vessels.
The Air Force is simultaneously working to supply, equip, and train the soldiers who will be managing the program. This program is obviously of upmost importance.
Control of the drones can be through any number of means, including touchscreen or voice commands. The ability of the pilots to work in harmony with the autonomous drones will be a game changer.
The drones are not intended to be disposable, but are, of course, much cheaper than the alternatives, such as the $80M F-35.
The drones will initially be deployed for defense, to escort pilots and prevent enemy attack. The goal of the program will continue to evolve into something more capable of overpowering offense, once operationally capable.
The drones will change elements of combat. Enemies will be forced to use different tactics when hit with overwhelming force.
Another interesting note, is that, Vayu drones, with their solid-state batteries would be more capable of dealing with enemy fire than many other drones. The batteries have been shot during testing and still maintained a charge. Any other lithium or known batteries would not have been operational and would have caught fire during that test.
This means that Vayu drones has not only the potential to deliver the designs that are capable of bringing this drone swarm to life, but arguably an advantage over competitors looking for the same contract.
The highly capable Reaper drone is reportedly the basis for building the drone swarm around. The military hopes to develop the ability to control the entire swarm in the hands of one operator.
AMASS will use AI and other technology to allow one operator to efficiently control any number of different sized drones. This will allow the operator to attack a greater area with more force. Safety of the pilots is the number one priority.
Current control of drone operations requires a larger footprint, oftentimes, based inside of a trailer, thousands of miles away, in the desert. The military hopes a single laptop will be able to control the swarm.
In Conclusion, drone swarms are going to be reality soon enough. The government is pulling out all stops to make sure this program is successful. The outfit(s) that are chosen to run this operation will receive prestige and ensure their company will be busy at least for the next decade. This is not a small mission.