- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Pentagon’s 20-year plan to utilize swarms of micro-drones appears to be coming along faster than expected.

The U.S. Air Force announced a micro-drone blueprint last summer for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), which will change the face of modern warfare. Military officials now confirm the successful testing of the world’s largest launch of such aircraft from three F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter praised the feat on Monday, which was completed at China Lake, California, by the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), with Naval Air Systems Command.

“This is the kind of cutting-edge innovation that will keep us a step ahead of our adversaries. This demonstration will advance our development of autonomous systems,” Mr. Carter said, Military Times reported Monday.

Some of the maneuvers tested by the 103 Perdix micro drones in October 2016 included “collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing,” Defense Department officials told the newspaper.

SCO Director William Roper described the drones as a “collective organism” that shared “one distributed brain for decision-making.”

“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” Mr. Roper said.

The Air Force’s Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, told Defense News on May 17, 2016, that swarming drones “will be the cornerstone of Air Force [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance]” for the next two decades.

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