Robotic Swarms in Offensive Maneuver

Robotic Swarms in Offensive Maneuver
U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Demetrius Kennon
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Oct. 1, 2017 — For many years, military scientists have contemplated the advent of swarming tactics as an evolution within maneuver warfare, and futurists have contemplated the execution of the tactics by cooperative teams of semi-autonomous drones. These projections expound on strengths demonstrated by hive-minded organisms such as bees or ants, which work cooperatively to defeat larger invaders through non-hierarchal communications. Other swarm theorists reference the deadly effectiveness of the ephemeral, loose formations of horse archers of the Asian steppe against less flexible foes. Whatever the source of inspiration, few authors move beyond the abstract employment of robotic swarms. To fully explore swarm utility in fire and maneuver, swarms should be inserted into the tactical concepts of today—chiefly, the five forms of offensive maneuver recognized under Army doctrine.

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