From the Office of Naval Research:
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced today recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program.
LOCUST can launch swarming UAVs to autonomously overwhelm an adversary. The deployment of UAV swarms will provide Sailors and Marines a decisive tactical advantage.
“The recent demonstrations are an important step on the way to the 2016 ship-based demonstration of 30 rapidly launched autonomous, swarming UAVs,” said ONR program manager Lee Mastroianni.
The LOCUST program includes a tube-based launcher that can send UAVs into the air in rapid succession. The breakthrough technology then utilizes information-sharing between the UAVs, enabling autonomous collaborative behavior in either defensive or offensive missions.
Since the launcher and the UAVs themselves have a small footprint, the technology enables swarms of compact UAVs to take off from ships, tactical vehicles, aircraft or other unmanned platforms.