US Military Launches 103 Micro-Drones From Fighter Jets In California

First Posted: Jan 12, 2017 03:40 AM EST

The U.S. military successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones from fighter jets in California. These were launched from three F/A Super Hornet fighter jets.

Pentagon said that the micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing. Meanwhile, William Roper, the director of the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office, said that Perdix micro-drones are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals. Instead, they are a collective organism. They share one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. He further said that 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. reports that the 103 Perdix micro-drones were tested last October in California. The drones have a wingspan of about 12 inches (30 cm) and could operate autonomously. It could also dodge air defense systems and be used for surveillance, according to a military analyst.

Elizabeth Quintana of the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank, said that when looking at how one deals with air defense systems that are optimized to spot very large, fast-moving aircraft, small and cheap disposable drones seem to be one solution. She further said that the system would probably be used for surveillance purposes in the near term.

Pentagon said that the Perdix micro-drones draw inspiration from the commercial smartphone industry. The drones were conceptualized by engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were later modified for military testing in 2013, according to BBC News.

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