- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The swarm is coming — the swarm of U.S. military mini-drones, that is.

A 20-year blueprint for the future of miniaturized drones was unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Air Force. Military officials at the Pentagon said swarming capabilities of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will change the face of modern warfare.

“We do believe that small, unmanned aerial systems will be the cornerstone of Air Force [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] as we look through the next 20 years,” Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, told Defense News.

Col. Brandon “BB” Baker, chief of the Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) capabilities division, concurred. The officer said enemies of the U.S. would much rather shoot down a single $20 million Reaper UAS than a swarm of Boeing’s RQ-21 Blackjacks, for example.

“You’ve really kind of messed with the adversary’s calculus in this case,” Col. Baker said, the website reported.

Two other drones featured at the Pentagon’s event included Raytheon’s tiny Coyote and Silver Fox platforms. The aircraft will eventually work together in a network that adjusts its maneuvers every time a platform is destroyed.

“Now [U.S. enemies] are going to be really challenged and the advantage comes back into our favor in terms of an economic advantage,” the officer added.

The technology will be operated by ground commanders working in tandem or via a single manned fighter aircraft with multiple UAS at the pilot’s disposal, Defense News reported.

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