The Indian Army publicly revealed on its Twitter account that it is actively pursuing the application of mass groups of small drones to support both defensive and offensive ground combat operations.
Referred to as “swarms” the concept envisions large numbers of relatively small unmanned aerial vehicles acting in concert to attack a single target. The objective is to overwhelm the target’s possible defenses neutralizing them thereby allowing some drones typically armed with an explosive warhead to effect multiple strikes on a single target or specific area.
The Indian Army drones are equipped with various sensors and data links to a control station. In demonstrations it proved possible for a single station to control multiple drones simultaneously. They can be pre-programmed to follow a specific route which can be adjusted while in flight based on real-time observations passed to the controller.
However, the drones in the swarm can also employ artificial intelligence (AI) to coordinate their maneuvers and flight. As they operate as a coordinated team it is possible to configure individual drones for reconnaissance and surveillance or optimized for strike with each taking on its particular task but then contributing to the larger specific mission.
Onboard algorithms provide navigation and collision avoidance while automatic recognition aids targeting.
The in-county drome development and successful field demonstrations are part of the Army’s “Make in India” program intended to give the country self-sufficient in defense systems. An associated drone development effort is the “Make -II” program to further improve their capabilities.
by Stephen W. Miller