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ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! US Navy Digs Into the use of Swarm UAVs for Antiship Operations

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posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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The video above is not that new: in fact, its almost a year old. However, the US Navy has continued to keep developing the LOCUST platform and plans on doing very large scale demonstrations of the use of swarming UAVs. The idea being that a swarm of 90 Coyote/LOCUST drones would cost the same as a single Harpoon missile and have a far, far greater chance of rendering a destroyer mission killed.

Apparently, modern destroyers, etc, have a very hard time with the use of swarming UAVs if they are used in swarms. EW, weapons, etc. are not designed to fight these sorts of threats. In a study, it seems 2.8 times out of 9, a swarm was able to mission kill a destroyer because the ship was forced to use CIWS and machine guns to defend itself since the main weapons were completely useless against that threat.

The article discussing the work is at Defense Tech. I am a little unclear if they are planning to do the new demo off a warship or not. Or against one for that matter. The paper describing the Swarm Attack by Loc Pham at the Naval Post Graduate school is here (warning, 158 page pdf).

There are a 'hrm' bits here.

1. This assumes no DEW weapons are deployed. A lasers have been demoed against UAVs over and over and over again. Dwell times for lasers on UAVs for mil grade power output would probably shift the results from the study significantly. Laser shots are cheaper than even drones and in some senses warfare is a question of economics.

However, developing a SWARM weapon might be worthwhile for multiple reasons (intel /and/ attack)...and might fill the role the old, and canceled, TACIT RAINBOW did. And lasers are going to be confined to a few nations for the next 20 years yet would allow the US Navy to have relatively inexpensive attack modes still.

2. It also seems to assume the EW systems and CIWS would also be unable to be upgraded against these attacks, too.

3. I haven't seen a # for the range of the Coyote or equivalents. A Coyote with x range might cost $30k. However, to be useful as a weapon against a warship, it may require a longer range and, obviously, a warhead, which will greatly increase its cost. 81mm mortar rounds cost somewhere under $2k, so perhaps I am overemphasizing this: a mortar round, if it could get to the AEGIS radar, could muck up things moderately well. Enough for a mission kill. OTOH, with the power output of an AEGIS, I wonder if it wouldn't prematurely detonate the warhead.

I suppose you could swarm a task force with hundreds of cheap drones, get your mission kills and follow up with regular missiles.

Thoughts from others on the project and capabilities?




posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 03:32 PM
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a reply to: anzha
Reminds me of bat bombs an idea in ww2 by strapping bombs to bats.
How much is a bat?.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 06:22 PM
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originally posted by: boymonkey74
a reply to: anzha
Reminds me of bat bombs an idea in ww2 by strapping bombs to bats.
How much is a bat?.

Depends on the size of the bat.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 06:36 PM
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a reply to: anzha

what if we put the lazers on the drones.

Scary part is when the drones become bug size and much more numerous. just kill the personell via robo bug bite.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 06:43 PM
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a reply to: jellyrev

Lasers require a lot of power. There is an attempt to put a HELLADS laser on an Avenger UCAV, but that is not slated to fly for two more years. However, weapon class lasers will remain on larger aircraft for some time at least.

Bug sized weapons may become a threat for assassination, but there are ways of fighting them even now. There was a TED talk about off the shelf equipment assembled for killing mosquitoes. The weapon? A laser.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 06:49 PM
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They've actually been working on swarm attack and defense for years now.

Go back and look for where the Navy started diddling around with OAM tagging for shipboard laser designators, that's about when they began serious development work.



posted on Jan, 5 2016 @ 04:21 PM
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Too many ideas spin off of this.
1) Picture a commercial carrier with a bank of 200 of these things hidden on-board. Get close in and let her rip.
2) Take a bank of 100 make the launcher waterproof and sink in ocean. When needed raise it to the surface and launch. It's cheap enough that if 1/2 of them don't work it could still be effective.
3) Choke point. Put this in a semi trailer and run up to the ship as it passes through the Suez Canal. Launch . Self destruct and run.
I'll leave the nasty thoughts to others. There are some ideas that should not be discussed in front of the children lest they try to do it.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I don't understand the point exactly. For anti-ship operations, what is ever going to beat a submarine?

You call that a mission kill? This is a mission kill. A sub can launch one from 30 miles away, then steam further away for 20 miles while the torpedo cruises invisibly and quietly half a kilometer beneath the water surface, and then it surfaces to boom.

If you have to get close enough that you can launch cheap (and hence low-range) drones, then you're dead---better do it in a sub.

If you're far away, then you launch a big, fast, missile from a bomber.

I'm afraid that in modern naval combat, warfare for surface ships will be like WW1 sabre-cavalry charges into tank divisions.


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posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

The argument is the drones are cheaper than a missile. They are cheaper than a torpedo for that matter.

That is not to say the drones are a replacement for missiles, but a new tool. Whether or not its a good idea is what they are testing now. It may not be. However, there's only one way to really find out. My suspicions are it is really a good idea, but not as a panacea, but for the M kills. Its somewhat in competition with the railgun though: the economics are the driver for this weapon as much as anything. Intercepting a Mach 7 projectile that costs $25k are really high, so its a net win here, too.

If you can find a way to double stack, say 18 or single stack 16, swarm drones in a VLS cell, then I think this is definitely a win.

On the torpedo front, the US Navy is looking at torpedoes that can be fired very long distances: something between a UUV and a torpedo. I'm interested, but wondering how they would accomplish the ability to target something from so far reliably in a sub.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 03:24 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: mbkennel

...but wondering how they would accomplish the ability to target something from so far reliably in a sub.


Networking. Firing solution comes from the F-35, F-22 or LRS on station.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 05:20 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

That would require some seriously secure data links. Color me a bit skeptical. Not hugely so, but skeptical all the same.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 05:44 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Unless the sub was already near the surface, with their ESM mast up, making them more vulnerable, it would require going through E-6, so they could transmit the data, which would be really slow and time consuming.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 05:59 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

The only problem is going to be getting the info to the sub without it having to come shallow and then being able to reliably predict where the target will be when the ordinance arrives. I'm guessing they'll be able to work on some sort of laser comms to reduce the depth the sub would need to get to but it's almost going full circle back to the wolf packs and the condors reporting back convoy locations.

The Russians had always intended to use one version of the Bear for over the horizon targeting for sub launched missiles iirc.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: anzha

This is pure speculation but a long range torpedo could theoretically be actively guided and communicated to en-route to the target. A sort of under water cruise missile. The sub could come shallow, receive a fire and forget command, fire and then go deep again.
The torpedo, while travelling relatively shallow and at high speed is able to receive targeting info from the networked assets that are relaying up to date targeting info of the moving surface target.
This is similar to what the current and future gen. cruise missile can do as well.
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posted on Mar, 9 2016 @ 12:01 AM
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Oh look a Flock of Seagulls

Just have each one have pack a bullet primer and a small coil of det cord wired to a power cell



posted on Mar, 9 2016 @ 12:35 AM
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Interesting concept... Warrior would carry autonomous "swarm". Swarm would have target location to track shrapnel and or projectile paths bots. Audio and visual scanning bots that track C02 or other Emissions and temp sigz.
Laser target bots, and responders. Warriors optical nerve neurological linked, so any dangers threats observed in time swarm can protection mode warriors. Land on planet or moon drones in observation mode linked to warriors or scientists taking observable data and surveys data. Spike in neurological chems. Activation of defense mode swarms no protection active. A swarm could have 10 or more drones to one warrior. Warriors wear suits that comprehend drone data and send vital information to drones. The better suited the larger drone groups warrior holds carries...



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