Drones will hunt in packs, as US Navy unveils LOCUST prototype launcher

Thursday, April 16, 2015
By Paul Martin

RT.com
April 16, 2015

Drone technology is getting ever more deadly. The US Navy has released a video detailing LOCUST – the new tool allowing multiple drones to coordinate and swarm the enemy autonomously. It’s designed to protect large US vessels nearby.

The concept was detailed by the Navy last year, which only this month allowed the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to demonstrate what LOCUST – or the Low-Cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Swarming Technology program – can do. They’re touting the tool as a new era in autonomous warfare.

LOCUST is essentially a system that can launch swarming UAVs to overwhelm the enemy and provide the marines and sailors operating them with a massive tactical advantage, ONR explains in the press release.

“The recent demonstrations are an important step on the way to the 2016 ship-based demonstration of 30 rapidly launched autonomous, swarming UAVs,” program manager Lee Mastroianni says.

“This level of autonomous swarming flight has never been done before… UAVs that are expendable and reconfigurable will free manned aircraft and traditional weapon systems to do more, and essentially multiply combat power at decreased risk to the warfighter,” he adds.

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