Coming World of Swarming Drone Warfare
Is anybody ready for this?
Small drones, even in large numbers, tend to be far cheaper than conventional, larger weapon systems… Indeed, most of these systems are based on existing, easily available, and extremely cheap civilian technology. This dramatically changes the operational cost-benefit analysis that military forces need to do. Second, a swarm is essentially unstoppable. It is capable of taking multiple hits and still keep operating. Its disaggregated nature makes it very difficult to destroy at one go, especially given the fact that current defence systems are designed to tackle individual targets.
Third, a single swarm can be used for multiple purposes. While a part of the swarm can be used for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, the rest can be used as offensive weapons at the same time. Even the nature of their offensive capabilities can differ widely, ranging from kamikaze style self destructing drones to jamming electronic signals. Fourth, autonomous swarm technology is terrain agnostic, in that it can be used on air, land and in water. In fact, the most significant use of this technology may be for naval purposes. Swarms of underwater drones could be potentially used for everything from laying and destroying mines to protecting warships and submarines, and the United States Navy has already demonstrated the capabilities of surface level autonomous boats. __ Is Anybody Ready?
No matter where you plan to make your stand when TSHTF, you will need to plan for robotic swarm weapons. Robot weapons swarms are being designed and built to take to the land, sea, and air in large numbers. They will be cheap, and they will be deadly, and if you are not prepared to use them and defend against them, you will be toast.
Robot swarms are an extension of the “unmanned vehicle” concept. Unmanned vehicles have been given heavy use by all branches of the US military. Both the Pentagon and US Intelligence services have frequently used unmanned drones in both surveillance modes and in attack modes.
New Drones Will be Cheaper and Smarter, and Will Swarm
When launching an invasion, for example, large swarms of disposable, intelligent drones would be sent as a “first wave” of attack, to expose and destroy primary defences and to relay real-time status reports to command and control centres. “Second and third wave” attacks would include increasing numbers of manned aircraft — but each manned craft would itself be accompanied by a swarm of robotic drones to extend the pilot’s ability to see, defend, attack, and return safely.
Rather than send in a wave of manned planes for the first day of combat… send in wave after wave of cheap, disposable systems that come with no risk of losing a U.S. servicemember. __ DefenseNews
“They are expendable and fly low as a surveillance asset. You can have a lot of them for a saturation approach. Saturating has an advantage over the thing it has to defend against. Its defender has to take more time and money to defend against it… __ Scout.com
Not Everyone Can Afford US Military-style Drone Swarms
The new drone swarms as envisioned by the US Pentagon, depend heavily on AI-like technology. Such technologies are difficult and expensive to master and implement, at least in the earlier stages before mass production.
Japan, Israel, the UK, and other technologically capable nations are likely to copy the Pentagon’s robotic drone swarm approach for purposes of attack, defence, and battlefield surveillance. China will try to keep up, using piracy by cyber espionage and reverse engineering. Others may have to be content with developing semi-capable defences against robotic drone swarms. Russia, for example, has a hard enough time just building its basic Proton rocket engines without catastrophic defects, and will need to improvise a defence against high technology swarms.
Defence against large numbers of drones is difficult: In hundreds of simulations, aproximately 3 out of 8 launched drones survived in an attack against a US Aegis equipped destroyer.
Cheap New Mass-Produced Swarm Systems are Coming
We can already buy cheap, off the shelf remotely-controlled drones. There are so many of them flying around developed countries that they are becoming a navigational hazard for private and commercial aircraft.
But in the next few years, we are likely to see cheap, mass-produced intelligent and semi-intelligent swarming robots that can launch from any location, carry out their mission in swarming good style, then either return to base or destroy themselves kamikaze style.
Is Your Survival Bunker Ready for Micro-Swarm Warfare?
Survival bunkers of the future will have to be resistant to drone surveillance. If they can’t see you, they can’t attack you. If your compound is readily located and reconned, your job of defending against a swarm will be much tougher.
Defence Against Swarms
Beyond traditional human sentries, fixed cameras, motion detectors, and simple mobile drone perimeter surveillance, kevlar netting combined with automated sentry guns would provide an intermediate and up-close defence against swarms. Both systems are expensive now, so a bit of improvisation to achieve the same goals may be called for. In the future, specialised producers are likely to provide less expensive systems of this type.
Using Your Own Swarms
Offensive robot swarm drone systems for individual survivalists are apt to be pricey. Several survival compounds in a region may decide to link resources and personnel to create a “drone swarm attack squad” composed of members from each compound, who train themselves to maintain and operate low cost robotic attack swarms under specific conditions.
But even these “offensive” swarms are ultimately used for defensive purposes, when it comes to survival groups. They are likely to be called into play when a threatening force is sited by surveillance drones, or when surveillance drones and other “tripwire” sensors begin to mysteriously drop offline.
Robotic swarms may be used against other swarms, against attacking human forces on the move, or against specific equipment or emplacements that represent particular threat to the survival communities.
First Learn and Experiment with Ground-Based Swarms
Air, sea, and outer space-based swarms are much sexier, but to learn the basics of swarm technology it is more practical to begin with land-based robot swarms. Each drone has to be able to communicate and coordinate with other drones, in various configurations.
In semi-autonomous mode, humans maintain some level of control. For example, a human might send commands to the swarm to carry out a particular group operation, to move in a prearranged formation, or to abort the mission and RTB. More sophisticated methods of human to swarm control are being developed.
In autonomous mode, sometimes the entire swarm will act together; sometimes each individual drone will act individually under conditions of “radio silence.” Most of the time it is likely that the drones will interact in various combinations of the above modes, with the option of changing modes as circumstances evolve.
The software for autonomous robot swarming is still under development. But once it is perfected and hard-wired — at least for basic formations and missions — it can be mass produced fairly cheaply.
Conditions for Survival are Subject to Change
You are likely to go your entire life without coming under attack from hostile robot swarms. On the other hand, if you want to call yourself a “survivalist for the 21st century,” perhaps you should take a closer look at some of the things that you may come up against. If you have something that other people want to take for themselves, that is, or if you represent a threat to hostile others.
If you can project a non-threatening image while remaining potent, and project an image of bare subsistence while having everything you need, you will have fewer occasions to face state of the art attacks. And if you can remain invisible, somehow, while going about your life of planning and unleashing an abundant and expansive human future — the next level — then your risks of attack will be very low indeed.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. If you can find your way inside a Dangerous Community as a contributing member, consider it.