What could be the specialties within drone swarms?

Sub-scale and Full-Scale Aerial Targets and RPAs - Remotely-Piloted Aircraft
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michaelemouse

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Unread post20 Sep 2019, 02:46

While drone swarms of 100s or 1000s over a battlefield may be a bit much, drones cooperating in groups of squad/platoon level seems likely.

What would be the advantages of using swarms/groups rather than one drone? In what ways can drone swarms be used so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

How could the specialties/capabilities be split?

As one example of what I mean: I can see some utility in having some drones specialize in decoying, jamming and physical ECMs since they will be at the most risk and can be optimized for missile-dodging/expendability. It could also be useful to have illumination/target designation drones while others specialize in receiving; The illuminator/designator can be cheaper or stay further away from the threat while the receiver stays passive and can come closer. Shooter drones could be heavier, have more payload at the cost of lower maneuverability and be optimized for slow-ish low-level flight while early warning drones could be high-altitude with a light payload reserved for sensors. What else could make be useful?
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vilters

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Unread post20 Sep 2019, 13:04

Drones, and swarms of drones, are an ideal tool to lay down a bed of anti personel mines.

I know there are conventions about anti personel mines, but I don't think terrorists care much for conventions.
(Or any other form of ROE)
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vilters

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Unread post20 Sep 2019, 13:08

Biggest limitations of these relatively small drones in a combat situation are range and or endurance.

Hearing a drone? The ennemy automatically knows somebody is out there.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post20 Sep 2019, 13:09

I'd say that drone swarms could be very useful in search and rescue missions where the exact location isn't known. A swarm of drones could cover a huge area quickly and also safely.

Another good mission would be wide area surveillance. This could be done to protect own troops or say some important installation against attacks. There the large number of sensors would be very beneficial and co-operation would allow a lot of new things. For example the swarm could quickly alter their positioning and focus depending on changes in tactical situation. With suitable sensors and systems they could direct artillery, mortar and aircraft to attack enemies. They would be like intelligent and mobile mine field for enemy troops just with different kill mechanism.
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michaelemouse

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Unread post21 Sep 2019, 00:27

hornetfinn wrote: There the large number of sensors would be very beneficial and co-operation would allow a lot of new things. For example the swarm could quickly alter their positioning and focus depending on changes in tactical situation. With suitable sensors and systems they could direct artillery, mortar and aircraft to attack enemies. They would be like intelligent and mobile mine field for enemy troops just with different kill mechanism.


That reminds me of AESA radar: A large number of simple components modulate how their effects interact with each other to create something that none of them could do on their own.

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