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Video: America wants to use drone swarms to control the skies

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Modern conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza show that unmanned aerial systems, or drones, have an important role to play in future warfighting.

Through the Intelligence Community and military, the United States was the first to fully employ and weaponize drones back in the 1990s. However, today, most militaries and non-state groups field a drone capability.

“Before long we won’t be talking about handfuls of FPV [First Person View] drones, each operated by a single user, and instead we’ll be talking about entire swarms of drones operated through distributed artificial intelligence,” Alex Hollings, Sandboxx News’ Editor-in-Chief and host of Airpower on YouTube said.

The U.S. has been exploring the concept of drone swarms for over a decade and has tested different capabilities. From small 3D-printed drones that operate on distributed computational power to the Air Force’s Golden Horde program that explores the possibility of swarms of autonomous munitions to drone decoys intended to confuse enemy air defenses, the U.S. military has been developing answers to the drone threat while also creating its own drone fleet for offensive purposes.

As Hollings explains, the idea of swarms of drones being operated by artificial intelligence can be a very scary thing, especially for air defenses since even the most advanced systems can’t deal with dozens of suicide drones coming their way and with different attack patterns.

To be sure, a suicide drone doesn’t have the same destructive capability as an AGM-114 Hellfire missile or an FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, but it can still prove deadly to both stationary and mobile targets. And in numbers, suicide drones can tilt the tactical outcome of a battle toward one side.

The U.S. military’s efforts to develop swarms of drones have one clear objective: return to airpower en mass, or field a large number of manned and unmmaned aircraft to dominate the skies.

You can watch Alex’s full video about how the U.S. is planning to do that above.

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The editorial team at Sandboxx.