Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Death From Above

Drone swarms are coming:

Drone swarm technology—the ability of drones to autonomously make decisions based on shared information—has the potential to revolutionize the dynamics of conflict. And we’re inching ever closer to seeing this potential unleashed. In fact, swarms will have significant applications to almost every area of national and homeland security. Swarms of drones could search the oceans for adversary submarines. Drones could disperse over large areas to identify and eliminate hostile surface-to-air missiles and other air defenses. Drone swarms could potentially even serve as novel missile defenses, blocking incoming hypersonic missiles.

I'm worried about how our infantry companies will defend themselves from swarms of small drones striking after short flight times when companies and platoons will have few hand-held anti-aircraft weapons (and will be busy with their ground fight).

Will higher echelon ground-based air defense be able to detect such attacking swarms? If they detect them can they even reach the drones before the attack takes place? Would there be enough expensive air defense missiles to take down the drone swarm if they can reach the attackers in time?

And how will high-flying F-35s control that air space just above the infantry companies?

We are placing more emphasis on our infantry with initiatives put in place by Secretary Mattis. My thoughts on how we will defeat technology-enabled enemy infantry rely on superior training and leadership.

Yet attrition will destroy such a finely crafted machine. Will cheap enemy drone swarms kill expensively trained and equipped infantry at the tip of the spear?

I do have some thoughts on that problem.

As an aside, I raised the issue of point defense missile defense drone swarms over a year ago. Which was different from a forward drone defense over enemy launch points.