Wednesday, January 17, 2018

UAV Swarm Attack Against Russian Base

It’s being reported that a Russian airbase in Syria was attacked by a UAV drone swarm and that the attack destroyed or damaged Russian aircraft.  I’m not going to offer a link because the event can easily be found with a simple Internet search and, frankly, there is no reliable information to refer to.  Further, for the purposes of this post, it doesn’t even matter whether the event actually occurred or how.  What I want to discuss is the concept of a drone swarm attack in a land attack setting.

Let’s start by imagining the possibilities!  It boggles the mind.  Swarms of small, cheap drones attacking in perfectly coordinated precision, putting on an aerial display of pure wonder, and then either suiciding into their targets and/or dropping small mortar type bomblets.  Why, you could blanket an area with such an attack!  Yes, against an alerted, defended base many of the drones would be shot down, thereby reducing the amount of “weapons” that get through but it would be difficult or impossible to stop them all.  Sure, we’re not talking 16” battleship shell fire but it only takes a small explosive to ruin an airplane, right?  Plus, this attack could come from many miles away and it would only take, maybe, 30-60 minutes of flight time, depending on the distance.  That’s not instantaneous response to a fire call but it’s fairly quick.  Yes, it’s got to take a fair amount of time to set up the attack, get everything organized, and get all the drones into the air and assembled but the effort is worth it for the results.  This is the future of warfare, without a doubt!

Boy, if only such a technology had existed in the past, wouldn’t that have revolutionized warfare?  That kind of ability to drop explosives over a wide area from many miles away would have been something military commanders would have loved to …  to … ah …

Hey, now that I think about it, didn’t we used to have a system that could launch unmanned, ballistically guided, aerial systems that could drop small explosives over a wide area?  Yeah … yeah, we did!  It was called “artillery”, wasn’t it?  They used launchers that fired small, aerodynamically shaped, unmanned craft that carried payloads of explosive submunitions that the aerial craft would scatter over a wide area before suiciding themselves into the target area.  If I remember correctly, they called the unmanned craft, “shells”, and the explosives were called, “cluster” munitions.  I think they referred to the unmanned launch process as “firing”.  They would “fire” the “shells” from many miles away and they were unstoppable in flight, unlike swarm drones, and traveled at speeds immensely greater than swarm drones.  What’s more, I seem to recall that the “shell” attacks could go on and on for extended periods as opposed to the one-and-done nature of a drone swarm.  Furthermore, the “artillery” system could respond within seconds to a call for fire and the “shells” would arrive over the target in minutes.

Okay, I had a little fun with the writeup, there, but it illustrates the idea that in our blind and fanatical pursuit of technology we tend to overlook simpler, more effective, existing technologies.  Artillery puts to shame any drone swarm and yet we’re downsizing our artillery, have stopped developing cluster munitions, and are pursuing drone swarms with a zealousness that is obsessively fanatical.  Does that really make sense?

Our technology obsession is blinding us to the reality of far more effective methods just because they’re older.

Here’s an amusing story that illustrates the issue.  I was talking to some of my nieces and nephews at a family get together and they were all comparing notes about their new smart phones and all the latest features that each had.  Well, not to be outdone, I told them that my phone had a just-released new app that allowed flawless conversational verbal text messaging  on a real time basis.  They were amazed and they all wanted to know what the app was so that they could download it.  Of course, I told them that each of their phones had the app built in – it’s called “talking on the phone”!

The pursuit of technology can blind us to what we already have.


  1. Try this on the nephews
    What is "non-volatile fiber based storage" ?
    That would be paper.

  2. I get what you are saying about nothing being new under the sun, but the big difference that is not addressed is that this new drone tech allows artillery like area effects in a low to medium intensity conflict and for much less cost than owning a King of Battle, ammunition and a trained gun crew.

    It is the cheapening and democratization of war. That's a good thing, right? /s

    1. "I get what you are saying about nothing being new under the sun"

      That's not what I was saying - or, at least, only part of it. I was saying that we have existing capabilities that are many times simpler and more effective than a drone swarm. An artillery barrage puts any drone swarm to shame on every level.

      As I noted in another comment reply, this post was not about what capabilities a terrorist group could muster but what capabilities the U.S. military has and should be pursuing.

      Even for a terrorist group, a few simple mortars would probably be simpler, cheaper, easier to set up and operate, and more effective than a drone swarm.

    2. I posted this in a different forum, but it seems to fit better here:

      ""I am not interested in a linear progression into the future that will end up in defeat on a future battlefield," said Milley, describing the mistake of depending on incremental improvements to existing combat platforms.

      "We are talking about 10X capabilities that don't physically exist in the real world right this minute, but they will," he added.

      More than a decade ago, Army leaders touted the need for "leap-ahead" technology in the service's Future Combat Systems effort -- a multiyear, multibillion dollar program that consisted of 14 lightweight manned and unmanned systems tied together by an extensive communications and information network."


      As much as I liked the 'Bolo' books as a middle school kid, this sounds like another infatuation with tech.

      And heck, even the Bolo's started as slightly modified MBT's.

      Continued upgrades to the Abrams, reintroduction of cluster munitions, and studying the lessons we learned during the cold war could instantly make our ground forces more lethal. Without going for 'transformational' technology.

  3. I would agree that from a military point of view, yes, couple of artillery rounds would ruin your day and airfield BUT for none state entities like ALQ/ISIS or other terrorist groups or even just a pissed off civilian, couple of drones don't cost much, the technology is only getting better every year, home made explosives, some GPS/AI guidance and you could shut down a modern civilian airport for at least a few days, military, maybe a few hours, not bad for something you could cook up in your garage, I think that's the future drones are a lot more discrete than artillery, you probably could attack other less defended sites than an airport and still create massive panic/havoc.

    1. I didn't write the post about ISIS capabilities and plans, I wrote it about the U.S. military's capabilities and plans. Yes, you're correct that a terrorist group probably can acquire, move, and operate drones easier than conventional artillery (although acquiring a handful of mortars, moving them surreptitiously, and operating them would be awfully easy!) but this was not aimed at terrorists. The post was aimed at the U.S. military who is methodically abandoning conventional firepower in favor of newer, less effective technology.

      In addition, once the U.S. military decides to get serious about UAV defense, drone swarms will be a non-factor. They're just way too easy to shoot down by multiple means. A single CIWS with modified proximity fuzed shells could wipe out an entire UAV swarm in seconds.

  4. Think big, CNO, a F-35 herding a fleet of yesteryear-boneyard-converted, or modern drone fleet, can do real wonders. Kinda like old Kamakazis with escorts.

    1. You're aware that the boneyard aircraft are not flight worthy and would cost enormous quantities of money to prepare, right? By comparison, you know what the cost of artillery shells is, right?

      Even if you opted to spend the money to prepare old, non-flying aircraft as drones, it would be a one-time-ever effort, never to be repeated. That's not exactly a useful military firepower.

      As it stands, this is an inaccurate and non-specific comment - exactly the kind of comment I discourage. If you want to make a useful comment, tell me specifically how such a drone fleet would be useful and more effective than artillery, Tomahawk missiles, or any of the other existing weapons we have.

    2. 1. Boneyard aircrafts also have residual values. USAF retrofits old F-16 as aerial target (meaning, it already has remote flight control and takeoff/landing capability). These boneyard residents (maybe not the real oldies, but recently retired) can either stay put and enjoy the Arizona bake, or be resurrected. Artillery shells are one-way ticket item, short ranged, single payloaded, don't serve as A2A missile sink/absorber.

      2. We know X47B can takeoff/land (so precise it can land on exact same spot every time, gauging a dent on the steel flight deck with its hook), so it's not beyond imagination a group of X47B-like drone fleet can be herded by F-35 (or whatever manned crafts), or even totally untethered.

      3. It's not one-time-effort, all these autonomous/remote-piloted planes can land/re-use.

      4. How can it be used? Exactly same as if all of them are manned, except in this case, only the herder (F35) has his living butt on the line. Also, whether it's a manned plane or drone, the opposition has to expend its A2A missile defense.

      All the single-piece technologies already existed, someone (and $$) just need to knit them all together.

    3. You need to think this through. It would require enormous sums of money to make retired aircraft flight-worthy again. As drones, it would require additional money to make them remote controllable.

      Setting aside the prohibitive costs, the issue of combat effectiveness arises. Being unmanned, these drones would be just that: target drones. They would have no evasive capability. Of course, they could be fitted with the most advanced electronic countermeasure equipment we have ($$$$$!!!) which would offer some improvement in survivability but without a human brain controlling each individual aircraft, they'd still just be targets and all the money poured into them would be lost.

      "How can it be used? Exactly same as if all of them are manned"

      That's not realistic. No unmanned vehicle can be used exactly as a manned vehicle because they have no human controlling them. Yes, they can be given waypoints to follow but they can't engage in air-to-air combat or evasive maneuvering. They'll, in essence, fly in a straight line and that means they'll be destroyed easily. The technology for true autonomous flight doesn't exist. Until then, they're just flying targets.

      Finally, the myth that one F-35 is going to "herd" a swarm of jets is simply ridiculous. The F-35 pilot is going to be far too busy flying his own aircraft! Again, the level of autonomy required for this scenario is non-existent.

      What you're proposing is pure fantasy.

      Last of all, you've completely failed to tell me how such a swarm could do any mission better than existing technology such as cruise missiles. For $1M apiece, we can procure and launch huge swarms of cruise missiles compared to what it would cost to bring retired aircraft back to remote controlled flight status. And, given that such drones would have a very poor survival rate, you can't even use the argument that they can be reused!

      Existing cruise missiles can do the mission far better and far cheaper - the point of the post.

    4. I'm going to use several examples for feasibility check

      1. B2-stealth-like X47B was first conceived as deep striker, then ISR, then tanker. So we know its AI can fly some kind of combat and ISR mission. We also know it can refuel a plane (i.e. autonomous communication between tanker and plane it is fueling). And unlike cruise missile, these drones can return and re-use.

      2. Couple years ago, there was this news about a combat simulator AI that defeat an AF instructor pilot every time and under all combat setups. That instructor said afterwards that he never felted this exhausted and dispirited against such an aggressive 'opponent' who always makes the right moves. Therefore, it is not far-fetched AI (on real plane) can engage A2A combat, missile evasion, and all sorts of combat moves.

      3. There are autonomous car out there, there might be new one coming out without a steering wheel (cutting rider totally out of control loop), that means that AI has to drive (and taken in sensory information and react) as competent as you and I in order for that to be on the road. A pilot is basically a sensory information 'gatherer and decider', which I think an AI can do as well.

      4. F-35, wasn't it supposed to be some kind of combat information center/coordinator/director other than its normal fighter role? Also, wasn't it supposed to be the last gen of manned fighter. The 6th gen is supposed to be unmanned. If it is as advertised, these 6th gen fighter won't be flying alone; they will be in formation and communicating, just like how manned formation will be.

      5. Yes, cruise missile is cheaper and proven, the point of your post. But, I'm talking about the future, which 'swarm drone attack' resides, which is also your point.

    5. You're citing a mixture of fantasy, rumor, and irrelevancy (seriously, you're equating an automated car with a combat UAV?). If you want to consider a fantasy level future then, sure, go ahead and say it has Terminator like AI and you might as well throw in invisibility, warp speed, anti-gravity, and Star Wars lasers.

  5. "abandoning conventional firepower"
    Yes, if you're serious about conventional firepower, just about every serious player out there manufactures some type of field artillery that is superior to what US Army has in inventory, and of course the crown jewels of artillery everywhere the self-propelled howitzer, check the K9, PzH2000 and the Koalitsia SV.
    US Army better up the game :)

    " A single CIWS with modified proximity fuzed shells could wipe out an entire UAV swarm in seconds."
    Now, there is much debate here, a CIWS like the C-RAM might not be that useful against very small drones carrying small hand-grenade type charges and coming in slow and low.
    A layered approach is needed starting with jamming first.

    1. There is no debate about the effectiveness of a CIWS type weapon against a drone swarm. One might debate whether a CIWS type weapon is the best choice but not whether it would be effective. No drone is going to get past a wall of lead.

    2. No drone for sure but the question is How many drones before that drum mag runs out.
      Against small drones you would need a new type of specialized CIWS maybe 50 cal, or 338 cal. but with a huge magazine capacity and a very quick reacting turret.

    3. "How many drones before that drum mag runs out."

      Against a low, slow flying object like a swarm drone UAV, the real question is how many bullets are required to destroy a single UAV and the answer is on the order of one. Low, slow flying, non-maneuverable UAVs are the military equivalent of skeet-shooting. A CIWS shotgun, in concept, would need very, very few rounds per UAV and, in a swarm, might even be able to get multiple kills per shot! So, the answer to your question is probably hundreds of drones per magazine and if, by some unlikely occurrence, the CIWS runs out of ammo, a soldier with an automatic rifle can easily shoot down UAVs!

      Military skeet-shooting!

    4. "very quick reacting turret."

      You mean a very slow reacting turret, don't you? A CIWS is designed to handle high subsonic and supersonic targets. A UAV meandering around at, oh I don't know, say 30-100 mph is not a very difficult target and doesn't require a particularly quick moving turret.

    5. Well, if its a saturation attack from multiple directions then the turret has to twist around pretty quick.

      I mean a swarm attack of dedicated purposely build "suicide" drones, not a terrorist groups improvisation with Chinese drones drones that cost 500 bucks each.

    6. "I mean a swarm attack of dedicated purposely build "suicide" drones"

      So, what's an example of such a drone that you think would be any more of a challenge to the defender than a simple skeet shooting?

      Unless you envision some kind of $100M sophisticated, ECM equipped, supersonic UAV, lower level drones are just not survivable against even simple defenses. And, if you envision a high end combat UAV, no one could afford to suicide such an expensive aircraft.

      So, give me an example.

    7. "Well, if its a saturation attack from multiple directions then the turret has to twist around pretty quick."

      We'll set aside the unrealistic notion that a base would be defended by only a single weapon and, instead, focus on the very slow speed of low end UAVs. UAVs are not particularly stealthy and would be spotted miles away. For a CIWS-type weapon faced with aircraft approaching at 30-100 mph, that's an eternity for the CIWS to leisurely pick them off. Do the math on the approach speed - it's crawling compared to the CIWS response time. A Phalanx CIWS, for example, has a traverse rate of 100 deg per second. It can do a complete circle in just over 3 seconds. How far can a low end UAV travel in 3 seconds? Not very far! An attacking swarm, even spaced evenly in a perfect circle around the weapon, would have zero chance of approaching any significant distance.

  6. Old school drone swarm= massed MRL fires. You ain't shooting that down.

    1. To much reliance on technology, I LL take good old artillery support any day.

  7. Check out this fictional video of 'weaponized drones' combined with AI. Sure it's fictional but what has folks concerned is all the technology exists to pull something like this off now.

    It's rather amazing how quickly commercial drones have developed- widespread, cheap, sensors, payload capable, etc. I watched ESPN a few weeks ago, they had something on called DRL (Drone Racing League). Looked like all the participants were 15-25 yrs old. I was astounded at what they were doing with drones.

    - Charlie

    1. Can aggressive swarm drones work in a non passive EW environment?

    2. Depends how much AI is on board I suspect.

      Two advantages to drones. No counter-battery, and non-ballistic flight path. You can fly them into a hardened aircraft shelter. Maybe.

      I see almost everything else as a negative, unless the technology improves greatly.

    3. "You can fly them into a hardened aircraft shelter."

      Do you really think that a combat alerted airbase is going to allow a low, slow flying UAV to fly into a shelter? A soldier with an automatic rifle can easily shoot down a UAV - it's not as if it weighs 2000 lbs and is screaming in at Mach+ speeds. We're talking a small, slow UAV meandering across the sky. This is just military skeet shooting!

    4. "non-ballistic flight path."

      Yeah ... to what purpose? As slow as they are, they can't evade anything weapons fired at them. They can non-ballistically wander around the countryside all they want but eventually they have to straight-on approach the target and then they're just target practice for the defenders.

      If you want to cite features of a UAV swarm drone, cite something that has a combat purpose.

      And, of course, over all of these considerations is the susceptibility of the UAV control comm link to electronic countermeasures!

  8. I do think the reaction to the drone attacks has been way overblown, especially this latest "swarm" attack. They have no real tactical capability in a war, other than mild harassment. They are like a less lethal and less precise sniper. They are more difficult to root out since they can operate at much longer ranges, a 50ish mile range would be pretty easy to achieve, which would put the attackers well outside the range of counter-battery fire. They shouldnt be considered terror weapons, more like agitation weapons. You might be able to harass or distract an enemy enough with them to make something else easier to accomplish, or maybe make mistakes on the battlefield trying to counter them. Its like a 21st century version of throwing a beehive over a castle wall. But they will never not be slow moving targets with limited lethality.

    I was also thinking that we have a perfect, already built solution to drone defense: the XM307. Programmable air burst rounds effective out to 1000 meters. Just pair it with a small radar like the TROPHY has and you are good to go. A couple of those scattered around a base or mounted on a humvee should be able to handle all but the largest swarms.

  9. You can pull off all kind of one off victories against an unprepared foe. During the Biafra conflict in the 60’s a handful of prop trainers put paid to the jet armed Nigerian Air Force in surprise attacks. But that didn’t mean the little prop plane was a better weapon and when the Nigerians got prepared they same planes had little effect.
    A single successful drone attack doesn’t make for a strategy or a new age in tactics. Next time the Russians will have old school machine guns ready to hammers the drones at range.

  10. The difference is in range and endurance. Kamikaze drones / high endurance missiles may fly for hudnreds of km if they are autonomous. There is currently no real defence against this, especially if the flying drones are bird-like and can walk the final 2-4 km so even MANTIS-like air defences on open fields around an airfield could not secure it.
    Autonomous drones could push back airbases by some hundreds of km.

    I did immediately think of the Biafra conflcit when I read about the drone attack. here's why:

    1. "Kamikaze drones / high endurance missiles may fly for hudnreds of km if they are autonomous. There is currently no real defence against this"

      Did you understand the point of the post? The point was that we have existing capabilities that are far, far superior to what a UAV drone swarm can provide. Using your "example" of flying hundreds of km, we already have cruise missiles that can fly a thousand miles at several hundred miles per hour and carry a huge warhead. COMPLETELY PUTS A DRONE SWARM TO SHAME.

    2. "if the flying drones are bird-like and can walk the final 2-4 km so even MANTIS-like air defences on open fields around an airfield could not secure it."

      That's hilarious! Setting aside the fact that there is no such thing, one guard with an automatic rifle could wipe out hundreds of walking UAVs! It would be ground level skeet-shooting!

      Come on, think this stuff through. Couldn't you, personally, with nothing more than a shotgun, destroy dozens of walking UAVs?

      If you're going to envision flying/walking, why not envision flying and then landing and tunneling their way into a base? That, at least, could theoretically work.

    3. We also have defences that are meant to intercept cruise missiles. We have no defences against small drones. That was my point.
      Military power and effectiveness are relative.

      I was based on an airbase and I remember the quantity of security troops (air force kinda infantry) as sufficient for main entrance, HQ and QRF only.
      Regular infantry and paras infiltrate and raid airbases as OPFOR on exercises without difficulty, and even adding a thousand reservists to the defence wouldn't really change that.

      All other security depends on poorly equipped troops that have practically no night vision. Drones of almost all sizes could slip by easily.

    4. You're talking about peacetime conditions. In war, every base is going to have greatly beefed up defenses!

      No defense against small drones?!? Every soldier with a shotgun is a highly effective defense!

      Drones are a novelty, at the moment, and could achieve a success or two against a peacetime base. If the military decides to get serious about drone defense they can, with very minor effort, totally eliminate any drone threat.

      As I've said, a single CIWS-type weapon could wipe out any drone swarm with no trouble.

    5. We can beef up base protection with personnel and rifles, but there are simply no night sights available for distribution to security personnel. Even the armny's infantry has equipment shortages due to omitted replacement purchases.

      This is a reality in a world where air forces are run by jet pilots, not optimised for robustness or cost efficiency.

      I myself wrote blog posts calling out drone and other technology fashions as old news, with similar concepts tried anywhere ranging from WWI period to 70's before.

      A CIWS would lack the field of fire to defend an airbase. One would need at minimum 3, for some air bases 5 CIWS and then one would still have to deal with ditches and other blind spots. Germany doesn't have enough MANTIS sets to secure but one airbase.

      I don't think I'm falling for shiny novelty here - I'm pointing out that no reaction of defence to a new or future form of offence was introduced yet.

    6. SO, let's be real, here. You're presenting a scenario that does not yet exist - one of flying UAVs that land and walk the rest of the way to their attack. That's good scifi and could happen some day but it doesn't exist yet. So, to be fair, why don't we imagine a defense that doesn't yet exist? How about intelligent laser sentry posts? Or patrolling anti-drone robots?

      Be fair in your discussion!

    7. Maybe I'm cynical or a pessimist, but I have little hope defences will be in place by the time the threat is in place.
      The military's inner workings are not capable of such foresight in face of unconventional means. The German air force, would prefer two more Typhoon jets over securing six bases against such attacks, even if it was the same total cost. The price paid in Russian war plannings might be the loss of deterrence value of 20 typhoons.

    8. Are you aware of the U.S. military's anti-drone development efforts? They are actively trialing various anti-drone defenses running the gamut from electronic to physical shootdowns. Most are what I would classify as pretty small, cheap, and directly effective. None have reached full deployment status yet but many are being evaluated. If you're not familiar with them, you might try an Internet search. The military is making no secret of what they're doing. If you see what's being explored and developed you might have a greater degree of comfort.

      There are already defenses available, just not ideal ones. For example, the C-RAM that has been deployed for anti-rocket/mortar defense is more than capable of anti-drone defense. It's just a vast overkill and is pretty much an immovable weapon. The Army is working to come up with much simpler, smaller, mobile/portable defenses. Let's face it, a low, slow drone is not much of a defensive challenge!

      Anyway, take a look at what the Army's developing and you might feel a bit more reassured.

    9. "The military's inner workings are not capable of such foresight in face of unconventional means."

      You make a great point that deserves a bit more consideration. You are absolutely correct that militaries (or bureaucracies, in general) are very slow to anticipate unconventional actions that impact them.

      The part I'd like to consider further is that most unconventional technologies are of fairly limited effectiveness, at least initially.

      Take the current topic of drone swarms. Yes, an enemy could have a couple of minor, initial successes against an unprepared military but it would have no long term impact. The military would quickly adjust - likely in a massive overkill response, as they typically do.

      Or, consider the example of IED's. Yes, they initially proved to be unexpected and deadly but, ultimately, they have had no impact on any outcome and the military has adjusted.

      So, yes, the military is poor at anticipating the unconventional but, almost by definition, the unconventional has no real impact and the military fairly quickly adapts, if in a massively overkill fashion.

  11. Another thing in particular, no serious weapons manufacturer ( east or west ) has yet played with a concept of a small but fast maneuverable suicide type or drone!

    What do i mean, check out the vid below

    Radio controlled Turbinejet powered by a Behotec JB 180 Turbine Gold Edition. Trust 190 N. Guinness World Record in Ballenstedt Germany on 14.09.2013. 709 Kmh High Speed Record.

    And thats a "civilian" thing, imagine what a purposely build suicide drone could do even wit a small warhead, and a lots of them.

    1. here you can check the maneuverability

    2. Do you recall the point of the post? The point was that we already have more capability than anything you can conjure up with UAVs. For example, your super turbine, high speed UAV is completely outclassed by a Tomahawk cruise missile with a thousand mile range, high subsonic speed, multiple guidance modes, thousand pound warhead, multiple target acquisition modes, electronic countermeasures, etc.

      That's the point of the post. We can spend time, money, and energy pursuing technology for its own sake, or we can remember that we have existing, technology that is far more effective.

      What can a UAV do that a cruise missile can't do far better? The point of the post.

  12. Miniaturization, you can make'em smaller, more agile and if you add some sort of "swarm AI" its gonna be hard for the defender.

    1. Sure you can make 'em smaller. You can make them so small that no defense can see or stop them. Of course, you're weapon payload will be measured in milligrams. What does that accmplish?

      You still haven't answered the question, what can a UAV swarm do that, say, a cruise missile barrage can't do far, far better?

      With respect, you sound like the military - so desperate to find a use for a neat technology that you're completely ignoring or overlooking existing tech that is far more effective and lethal.

      So, answer the question, what can a UAV drone swarm do that a cruise missile barrage can't do far better?

    2. "So, answer the question, what can a UAV drone swarm do that a cruise missile barrage can't do far better?"

      Tactically a lot more, because they wound be a lot more smaller and thus portable, you could even give them on platoon level.

      Besides designations tend to confuse when we are talking about similar technologies.

      The key point here is miniaturization and advanced AI algorithms witch could be tailor developed for certain small flying munitions.
      Now how you choose to name them is another thing i used the term UAV because its common.

    3. You haven't answered the question beyond saying, "a lot more", with no actual example. I assume from this that, like me, you can't think of an example of anything a UAV drone swarm can do that a cruise missile barrage can't do much better. So, we are in agreement.

  13. I am not impressed by drone swarms as a means to deliver massed explosives: artillery, particularly rocket artillery, and missiles are simply cheaper and more effective for massed destructive effects.

    That said, I am very much impressed by the potential of drones for reconnaissance and other missions.

    The potential effect(s) of combining even rudimentary AI reconnaissance with smart/dumb artillery and missile strikes.



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