The Pentagon’s New Drone Swarm Heralds a Future of Autonomous War Machines

 

On Oct. 26, 2016, a pair of Hornets flying above an empty part of California opened their bellies and released a robotic swarm. With machine precision, the fast-moving unmanned flying machines took flight, then moved to a series of waypoints, meeting objectives set for the swarm by a human controller. The brief flight of 103 tiny drones heralds a new age in how, exactly, America uses robots at war.

The Pentagon’s worked with Perdix drones since 2013, with the October flight using the military’s 6th generation of the devices. F/A-18 Hornets, long-serving Navy fighters, carried the drones and released them from flare dispensers. The small drones were the subject of an episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, and they move so fast they’re hard to film. Below, in a clip from the Department of Defense, the drones are barely visible as dark blurs beneath the fighters. Continue reading

Not Combat Ready: U.S. Marine Corps

Caption: Two CH-53E Super Stallions depart the flight deck of USS Essex. (Marvin E. Thompson Jr./U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

 

The United States Marine Corps aviation wing is suffering from the burden of 15-years’ worth of fighting and budget cuts. Fox News ran an exclusive story about this predicament on April 17. The article reported that the vast majority of U.S. strike fighter aircraft are not airworthy. But it wasn’t just F-18s grounded due to a lack of parts, maintenance or other complications. “Only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy,” Fox reported.

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