Drones that fly for days and kill people from miles away are the future of warfare. But before they can become the present of warfare, we have to be able to able to fly many simultaneously. We're on our way!
At Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, ten weaponized drones flew together—six MQ-9 Reapers and four MQ-1 Predators, controlled by ten separate teams at the same site—an increase of four over the previous record in just on year. Four extra drones might not seem like a giant leap for robotic warfare, but each drone requires a host of humans back on the ground to ensure they don't spiral into someone's barn. And the ability to coordinate ten such teams at once shows just how far drone warfare—or at least its potential—has advanced, and just how important this is to the US.
There's no reason to expect this pace to slow. As The Aviationist's David Cenciotti says, the "day when there are more drones than conventional planes flying at a certain time" is near. [USAF via Aviatonist]