by Nicholas West, Activist Post:
Once considered a conspiracy, the use of drones has rapidly become open knowledge as part of warfare and surveillance, domestically and abroad. We are now witnessing the roll-out of the next stage of drone evolution: swarms.
Swarm technology is being tested across the board on land, at sea and in air. Moreover, rapid advances are being made in artificial intelligence that enable autonomous systems to be fully released from human control altogether – identifying, surrounding and incapacitating targets.
One of the components of airborne drone swarms is the use of micro-drones – small, sometimes insect-sized autonomous vehicles that can be deployed from larger aircraft.
Earlier last year, I highlighted a Pentagon video that was released to document a system called Perdix, a supposedly secret program that utilized F-16s and F/A-18 fighter jets to deploy swarms of micro-drones. The video was short, grainy, and frankly lacked the production value of other military promos. I speculated at the time that due to its announcement coming via the Washington Post, as well as statements made by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, that this video had the hallmarks of a propaganda campaign designed – as Carter put it – to “get the attention of potential adversaries.” It also offered the dual purpose of lightly informing the public about this technology and paving the way for acceptance.
The Pentagon has now released a new, much clearer video of Perdix which offers more details and a far more chilling example of what type of swarm technology currently exists (so far as the public is permitted to know).
In this test, we see the release of a “cloud” of micro-drones numbering more than 100 which were released from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. It is being noted as one of the world’s largest swarms yet to be successfully released. Perhaps even more concerning is that the test occurred over California at China Lake, a Naval Air Weapons Station located 150 miles north of Los Angeles.
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