Navy is RnD is kicking the other branches asses with Drone Tech LOCUST PACK DRONES US Navy's LOCUST DRONE CANNON is like death SWARMED up Watch war gun fling itty-bitty flying spying future-droids 43 21 24 17 Apr 2015 at 21:02, Iain Thomson Vid Drones are going to play a big part in future conflicts, and the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) knows it. The boffinry nerve-center has been showing off its latest idea – the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) that will throw massive swarms of networked aircraft into the skies to search for the enemy. LOCUST can fire up to 30 flying drones into the air in quick succession, and these are interlinked wirelessly and directed by a shipboard controller. They can be used to coordinate attacks, carry out spy missions, and you get the idea. "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. "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." The drones, each named Coyote, are loaded into a Navy-standard sonarbouy launcher with their wings and tail folded. These snap into position after firing, and the propeller-driven drones can fly at 85MPH and have a range of 20 miles from their controller. ONR claims the LOCUST system is also low-cost; hundreds of Coyotes will be cheaper than "a tactical aircraft," we're told. That's not exactly hard – US military toy sets aren't exactly cheap. Each F-35 white elephant multi-role fighter will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, once they're ready. The video accompanying the announcement shows the drones encircling a small hypothetical village surrounded by palm trees, and directing bombs to smash the hell out of some houses while leaving others unscathed. Iranians may want to take note. ® Tips and corrections DRONE BOATS Video: The Navy wants drone boats to overwhelm the enemy Comments 1 By Dan Lamothe October 6, 2014 The bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 by al-Qaeda fighters killed 17 American sailors and underscored the difficulty of protecting U.S. Navy vessels from terrorist attacks. The service is now working on new technology that may help, however: drone boats that can swarm an incoming craft and destroy it if it doesn’t turn away. The Office of Naval Research released information about the technology over the weekend, saying the Navy is “unleashing a new era in ship protection.” The swarms are designed to give extra protection to Marines and sailors who are on board larger ships. The drone boats are enabled by advanced sensors and software that was initially developed by NASA for use on the Mars rover, Navy officials said. This image from a video released by the Office of Naval Research shows autonomous drone swarm boats defending a larger U.S. Navy vessel. (YouTube screen grab) “When we look at autonomous swarm, we’re not talking about a single vessel. We’re talking about multiple, multiple vessels that can be in a defensive posture and then — when called upon — can become offensive, surround an adversary and let them know that you are coming no closer to our ship,” Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder said in a new video outlining the technology. “But of course, if an adversary then decides to come closer we can give them another warning, or potentially we can say, ‘You’ve come to close. We’re now going to destroy your vessel.’ ” The computers on board can be added to nearly any boat, allowing the system to operate autonomously, Navy officials said. Here’s a .gif showing a computer model of a swarm: The Navy demonstrated the swarm boats in a project on the James River, near Fort Eustis in Virginia, in August. Drone boats escorted a vessel, with some of them breaking off to stop another ship. Navy officials hope to be able to begin operational testing for the program within a year.