Over the years, drones have played a vital role in the military industry. Employed in missions that are too dangerous for humans, drones act more than just a first line of defense. With new features and innovation, they have evolved into the perfect tool for monitoring areas of suspected militants, along with targeting isolated camps and carrying important packages. Indeed, drones have opened new possibilities not only for the military industry, but for other significant fields as well.
Plus, drone technology continuously advances, offering upgraded features that enable the military to widen their search and become more productive. With the best mini quadcopters swarming into dangerous fields, there is no denying that the military is now growing stronger and more resilient. The only question left to ask is, are drone swarms really the new step in military innovation?
What are Drones?
Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones are small vehicles that are able to capture real-time aerial images and videos. First used for military operations, drones are used by governments that seek to strengthen their defense system and guard specific parameters. Basically, drones have a number of features, including the following:
- Real-Time Images and Videos: Popularly known as the army’s “eyes in the sky”, drones provide a 24-hour aerial view of specific vicinities. Since top models are equipped with cameras, radars, image intensifiers and infra-red imaging, they are able to produce clear images and videos regardless of external conditions. The real-time video streams are also highly functional in terms of enabling military personnel to plan their actions.
- 24/7 Surveillance: The flight times of highly advanced models can reach around 17 hours or more, which means that drones can unimpededly deliver real-time images of ground activities for an extended period.
- Tracking Targeted Individuals: UAVs can also track and monitor targeted individuals from a specific altitude range.
- Missile Carriers: As tools for defense, drones can also carry missiles in case an attack against insurgents should be carried out.
- Bomb Detection: Since they are equipped with high-end features, drones are especially useful in detecting bombs and other dangerous devices.
- Spy Device: Drones can also be used as a spy device, especially since they are able to record real-time conversations.
Drone Swarms: The Latest Innovation in Drone Technology
In the last quarter of 2016, drone swarms have been launched in California for testing and analysis. First designed by students studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, drone swarms went under further modifications before an initial test launch was made back in 2013.
Known as the biggest drone swarm testing ever conducted, 103 Perdix drones were released from fighter jets last October 2016. In William Roper’s words, “Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. 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.”
While launching drone swarms from a moving jet is prone to errors due to turbulence and high-speed levels, the Perdix drones are able to tolerate a speed reaching up to Mach 0.6 and temperatures at around -10 degrees Celsius during their launch.
Weighing approximately 1 pound each, Perdix drones are more inexpensive as compared to larger, state-of-the-art drones. By enhancing drone swarms, the military can potentially save up as they optimize the use of micro-drones.
Indeed, drone technology has greatly developed for the past few years. With drone swarms being employed for surveillance purposes, the military force can further strengthen in the upcoming years.
Jack Brown is a true drone passionate and he focused his education on this amazing field. Thus, he graduated the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and now he’s a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. His main purpose right now is to find and develop new features and help others discover the wonderful experience of flying a drone. For this, he is the main editor and content creator at MyDroneLab Blog where you can find everything you want to know about drones.