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Russia's Huge Drone Swarms Could Be Unstoppable

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Russia is planning to use swarms with more than 100 drones in them.
Each drone would pack an explosive charge, and the swarms would be unleashed on convoys and other targets.
A surefire defense against a large swarm may be impossible, but it's worth remembering that Russia says a lot of things, and not all of them come to pass.
Russian academics and aerospace engineers recently came together to present a fairly terrifying vision of the future of warfare. Flock-93 envisions more than a hundred drones, each armed with an explosive charge, swarming targets including vehicle convoys. Although difficult to pull off (especially for Russia at this point), such huge drone swarms would be extremely hard to defend against, with even the best active defenses letting some of the drones through.

An article at C4ISRNet describes the Flock-93 concept. Originally proposed by the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy and private industry, the concept involves simultaneously launching more than a hundred drones, each armed with a 5.5 pound warhead. The drones will be flying wings capable of taking off and landing vertically. Here’s one example of such a drone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_XHrN07R54
A VTOL drone doesn’t need a runway for takeoff. In fact, you could crowd dozens of drones—or in Flock-93’s case more than a hundred—inside a fairly compact area, like a field surrounded by trees or the roof of a building.
Currently there is no Flock-93 flying wing drone, and the drone pictured above is a Kalashnikov ZALA-KYB attack drone. There also isn't a proven method of controlling more than a hundred drones at once. Flock-93 is purely a concept at this point, but a very intriguing one.
How does a military force defend against a swarm of more than a hundred drones? It’s not going to be easy. A kinetic defense involving missiles, anti-drone drones, cannons, shotguns, and machine guns will never be perfect. A defense that shoots down ninety percent of the drones, a very good number, still lets ten drones through.

Directed energy weapons might fare marginally better, particularly microwave weapons that broadcast a broad swathe of microwave radiation, frying anything in its path. That would be something like a flamethrower against a horde locusts. Still, no flamethrower would ever get all the locusts—and no microwave weapon would get all the drones.
The best defense against drone swarms might simply be jamming them, preventing them from receiving commands from human controllers. This would affect all the drones within range of the jammer with a 100 percent success rate. One countermeasure to this: make the drone autonomous, so they don’t need to receive radio signals at all.

These kamikaze-like drone swarms are pretty far out for now, particularly for the Russia who lags behind the West in drone technology. But it will eventually catch up, and this is a clear road map to a weapon system that looks effective even on paper. Another country like China might take the concept and run with it first.
It seems that sooner or later, swarms like Flock-93 will be everyone’s problem.

Source: C4ISRNet

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