The LOCUST Is Coming: Navy Launches Swarms of Tiny Drones

The U.S. Navy is testing a brand new sort of drone — or, to be exact, a brand new approach of launching and coordinating them. The Low-Value UAV Swarming Know-how program, or LOCUST, packs small, disposable drones right into a rocket launcher-like mechanism. As soon as fired out like big winged bullets, the drones glide by means of the air and start speaking with each other, ultimately flying in formation.

"This degree of autonomous swarming flight has by no means been accomplished earlier than," stated Lee Mastroianni, LOCUST’s supervisor on the Workplace of Naval Analysis. "UAVs which might be expendable and reconfigurable will free manned plane and conventional weapon techniques to do extra."

Small drones like these Coyotes cannot carry a lot ordinance, however they will regulate issues, monitor motion and intrude with low-flying plane. Even higher, they’re low cost. Subsequent yr ought to see swarms of 30 being demonstrated, after which the system might start testing for precise integration with Navy methods.

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—Devin Coldewey
First revealed April sixteen 2015, 12:thirteen PM