US agency DARPA conducted the second of six planned phases of the OFFSET exercise. Within its framework, for operational reconnaissance on the battlefield, it is proposed to use swarms of small drones - up to 250 vehicles in one mission. They must act in conjunction with the infantry and ground robots.
The first stage of the exercises was held in June this year, the program is designed for several years. The American military is interested in everything related to the "swarm" tactics - in practice, it turned out that this method has almost nothing to do with the ideas of writers, screenwriters or game developers about it. For example, espionage missions, during which a single drone effectively hides among the terrain, cannot be repeated as part of a group of at least a dozen vehicles.
At the second stage of the exercise, the tactics of using a swarm for reconnaissance in densely built-up urban areas were practiced. It turned out that in such situations, a large group of drones makes it possible to effectively organize surveillance of a large area. It is fundamentally important for an infantry unit to have an idea of the situation only in neighboring streets or to be able to look at what is happening in several surrounding neighborhoods.
But advances in drone swarms have also raised legitimate fears. After the first stage of the exercise, the program was corrected and exercises were added, aimed at destroying enemy robots in similar situations. For this, the US Air Force has already received an experimental THOR microwave emitter, designed to deal specifically with swarms - large groups of flying robots, and not single specimens.