6 June 2015

Swarm Technology Could Revolutionize Military Combat

By Matt Danzer
May 22, 2015

The Washington Post: “One of the highlights of the Pentagon’s first-ever Department of Defense Lab Day in Washington, D.C. on May 14 was the demonstration of new micro aerial vehicles known as CICADAs. These micro-drones, which can be deployed from military aircraft at altitudes close to 50,000 feet and still fit in the palm of your hand, could represent the next big thing in the way wars are waged. Think military infestations rather than military invasions.”

“Some of the scenarios outlined by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory include dropping CICADA drones tens of thousands of feet above enemy lines, where they can be used to eavesdrop on troop movements once they are equipped with microphones. At the very least, they might provide a clue about traffic or activity at checkpoints on roads leading into and out of difficult terrain. If you add magnetic sensors, they might even be able to pick up the movement of submarines below the water’s surface.”

“In an era of asymmetric warfare, tiny innovations such as the CICADA are what might be needed to take the fight to the enemy in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine if the U.S. military had been able to drop off hundreds of these CICADAs over mountainous areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan in the search for Osama bin Laden. Forget ‘boots on the ground,’ ‘insect wings in the sky’ might be a better metaphor.”

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