The American Office of Naval Research has revealed its superbly acronymed LOCUST -- Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology -- programme, a scheme to use UAVs with the ability to form joint combat units and overwhelm whatever thing the US is currently angry at.
The system launches these UAV swarms from pipes and is designed to let up to 30 engulf enemies at a time, presumably using them as kamikaze bots to whack enemiy vehicles out of the sky or land precisely-targeted bombs on the heads of suspicious looking foreign people with bulky rucksacks that look like they contain more than a week's supply of socks and a Kindle.
Here's how the boring-but-safe wars of the future may look, with the US Navy's demo suggesting a scenario where a mass swarm of UAVs peppers a bunch of suspicious, white, low-rise, foreign-looking buildings with bombs, because the films say places that look like this are where the bad people live:
The wars of the future will be fought by each country's finest e-sports champion, basically, a bit like Unreal Tournament on a national scale.
The ONR's LOCOST programmer manager Lee Mastroianni is a bit more serious in his explanation of the use of remote flying warbots, saying: "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." [America's Navy via Engadget]