The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched a public competition this week to evaluate how swarms of tiny drones could be used in future warfare.
The “Many drones make light work” competition, in partnership with government agency Innovate UK, calls for proposals on how lone drone operators could command UAS (Unmanned Air Systems) swarms in “contested environments.” The swarms would be tasked with jamming enemy communications, tracking targeted individuals, and area mapping.
Interestingly, the MoD wants swarms of UAS that can be assembled just before a mission, with the technical requirements of the drones shifting for different mission types. One mission could perhaps call on a swarm of drones to relay enemy location information to nearby troops, while another could call on a swarm to track an enemy convoy.
A total of £3 million ($4 million) is up for grabs, split across several projects that will each be allocated between £40,000 and £80,000 ($50,000 and $100,000) in the first phase, with further funding available to projects that make it through to the second stage.