Mind of the swarm
Amazing new technology allows drones to flock together as they fly
LOCUST demonstration (Video: Office of Naval Research)
365电竞The technology is designed to expand the reach of human operators, and there are always human operators making the key decisions. The operators are connected to or on the loop of the Coyote swarm to make course corrections or other changes, if needed.
365电竞The need to net Coyotes together is becoming more urgent, as the use of drones evolves.
“It's almost impossible to defend against (swarms of UAVs),” Mangelsdorf said.
Coyote, matched with KRFS, Raytheon's small, precision radar, is also an effective counter-drone technology (to read more about counter-UAS systems, click here). Under an urgent operational need, the U.S. Army is now procuring Coyote as a near-term solution to eliminate enemy unmanned aircraft.
365电竞The next-generation of Coyotes will fly farther and faster, and have greater endurance. They will carry different kinds of payloads, depending on the mission. They will also be able to fly around for a while, circle an area and perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
365电竞“It’s a loitering munition,” Mangelsdorf said.
While it will resemble a missile, the new Coyote will be much more flexible, with the ability to turn around and come back, fly in a different location or detonate itself if a mission is aborted. Raytheon will build prototypes for the U.S. Navy’s LOCUST program under a 2018 contract, further advancing Coyote’s swarming powers.
Besides the Office of Naval Research, Raytheon is providing Coyote to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Research Lab. If the U.S. government approves it, the company could someday offer Coyote to allied nations.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also used Coyote to track and model Hurricane Maria in 2017. The small drone can fly into storms that are too threatening for conventional aircraft.
365电竞Raytheon is responding to the growing demand by expanding its UAS factory to build more of the versatile Coyote.