US Army studying potential of swarming technology for small units

6 September 2019 (Last Updated September 6th, 2019 10:47)

The US Army has revealed that it is planning to incorporate robotic swarming technology in its operations to enhance its capabilities.

US Army studying potential of swarming technology for small units
AFC is exploring to what extent swarming formations of robotic systems could be used to enhance mission-command capabilities for army small units. Credit: US Army.

The US Army has revealed that it is planning to incorporate robotic swarming technology in its operations to enhance its capabilities.

Army Futures Command (AFC) is currently exploring the potential of using robotic systems in swarming formations to improve army small units’ mission command capabilities.

The project is looking at studying the feasibility of deploying autonomous systems such as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) as part of a swarm.

Swarming technology involves bringing together multiple autonomous systems to coordinate with each other in military operations and act as a cohesive unit.

The US Army small units would be able to use the swarms to deploy a combination of manned and unmanned systems in support of a range of missions.

The technology would also facilitate information exchange between the swarms and soldiers, mounted or dismounted.

AFC Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center chief engineer Osie David said: “The army is looking to swarming technology to be able to execute time-consuming or dangerous tasks.

“The army wants robustness, flexibility and persistence, so we’re moving away from controlling through tele-operating and trending toward commanding.”

David added that autonomous swarms will support teaming with humans to enable soldiers to make the right choices on the battlefield.

The C5ISR Center is exploring how much support commanders and their staff would be able to draw from the technology during mission command.

C5ISR Center Command, Power and Integration Directorate systems engineer RJ Regars stated that a ground force commander can make use of swarming technologies to conduct mission sets based on the reconnaissance requirements.

Regars said: “Swarm technology, with a potential combination of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, is ideally suited for difficult-to-manoeuvre environments like cities, forests or caves.

“The swarms could move quickly and quietly while tracking specific targets in locations where a traditional army formation cannot quickly manoeuvre while sending data to units several miles away. The ability to continuously patrol an area or route and quickly convey that data back to the unit is extremely valuable.”