War Drones (Jan. 10)

War Drones is Drone Dossier’s weekly roundup of new stories related to military drones. See the roundup below.

  • The US Defense Department announced they have carried out the largest test of drone swarms on US soil. 103 Perdix drones were released by three F/A-18 fighter jets. According to the Defense Department the Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.
  • The Army Research Laboratory is looking into using 3D printing to create on-demand drones for combat operations. During operations, a patrol could request a UAV for a specific support mission and tell a nearby 3D drone printing facilities exactly what they need. Then 24 hours later they have their own custom built UAV for the specifications they requested.

  • If you are looking to learn more about the “surreal” experience of America’s drone pilots of Creech Air Force base outside of Las Vegas, Nevada then this BBC article is a must read. Pilots at the base remotely control US combat drones overseas and talk about commuting to war. From the article: “When they walk through the gate, they’re in a war. Although physically they are at home, mentally they’re at war. So in effect we’re asking them to redeploy every single day, to go back home and be parents and be loved ones – and then come back to war again”. Such are the new frontiers of the modern battlefield.
  • Textron has received a $206 million contract to perform sustainment services for the U.S. Army’s Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system. The Shadow V2 is a multipurpose unmanned aerial vehicle that can be deployed individually or paired with manned and unmanned platforms.
  • Shephard Media looks back at military UAVs in 2016 and forward to their development in the coming years. The bottom line is that drones are now a well established force worldwide and will only grow. Shephard gives a look into some developments from nations, like the USA, UK, France, China and India.

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