The other day I was speaking to a technology writer about near future weapon systems we might see in 5-10 years. This is a rather simple task, as looking out beyond 10-years gets a lot harder. Now then, some of these near term trends are very interesting, and the evolution of such technology is based on strategies used by adversaries; large military forces, small terrorist groups and organized non-nation state actors, like ISIS for instance. Let’s talk.
We are beginning to see the future of autonomous swarming capabilities. We see Iran is using swarming strategies with fast-boats to attempt to overwhelm US Naval Vessels, and whereas normally such a strategy would be of concern today the USN has the Aegis Defense System and can easily track and kill all members of such a swarm forthwith. Of course, protecting large weapon defense systems from swarm attack isn’t always that simple, however it is vital and there will be more emphasis on doing that at low cost-per-kill.
It doesn’t make sense for a nation like Israel with its Iron Dome, Iron Shield strategy to fire an expensive missile at a make-shift missile that someone made in their garage and welded out of scrap aluminum or metal, which will do very little damage on impact anyway, those large missile defense systems must be used for real serious threats due to cost of each missile. Likewise you wouldn’t want to us an S-300 Russian defense system to shoot down small drone decoys either, or a patriot missile to be used to shoot down a toy drone quad-copter, which by the way – actually did happen recently.
When it comes to defense against swarming strategy attack, AI (artificial intelligence) will assist in rapid identification and trajectory to determine the best method to down the incoming projectile, then use a net-centric approach, all on its own, a completely omnivigilant self-running system. While the US Navy’s Aegis system does this now, similar systems will continue to come onto the scene – smaller, and less costly to protect smaller assets down to a small military outpost or convoy. DARPA (USA – Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) has been testing systems that defeat incoming mortar rounds and RPGs, and they’ve been successful with it, quite impressive.
In the near future we will see more attempts to exploit defense systems with swarming techniques and better innovations in ways to defend against this strategy, in fact, we are seeing this trend now, and it will continue and increase in abilities on both sides of the battlespace. We will see swarming defense measures also – swarms against swarms. Please think on this.