Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Drone wars

This Small Wars Journal post about a fighter commanding two drones at once (using video feeds from them) is full of jargon. "A concern with the bifocal picture of the battle for a lone individual, is that the data overload becomes more extreme. The aim of the 3D aspects of the OODA loop construct, and doubling or more for a single actor, is to seek continuous simultaneous review of the entire space surrounding a target; however, this impacts on tactical development significantly from an informational view." = you can't concentrate on three things at once

The idea, as illustrated in the post, is that using one or more drones greatly increases your ability to scan and attack. OK, fine. Searching for the enemy is still hard, and you almost certainly can't concentrate on 2 videos plus whatever is in front of you. Maybe some algorithms for pattern recognition would help--but those probably won't work well without high resolution, and if your drones are broadcasting brightly that's something your enemy could probably home in on.

I gather that "erratic behavior" helps make your drone attacks more effective. (Dodging, zig-zag course--sounds familiar)

The picture changes in some important ways if you aren't doing assassinations, and your enemy is equipped with the same sort of technology. In that case, you have to find ways of watching your own back at the same time. It would be nice to have a few drone-spotting drones aloft, which don't bother reporting back until they see something. If technology allows, add some drone-destroyer drones.

Since you may be otherwise engaged, it would be useful to optionally let the destroyers just attack when they find a target (though deception will make them waste ammo and power). Jamming or EMP attacks could make things interesting. Smoke screens probably won't work well, because (a) infrared and (b) the volume of stuff you need to fill a large enough volume of air is going to be daunting. Too little and the smoke tells where you/your stuff is, too much and you can't carry the smoke generator. (By this time the volume of drones would probably fill a car.)

You could launch lots of unarmed spotter drones and pray that your pattern recognition algorithm is still un-trickable (scarecrow with a cigarette lighter?) and send something armed when you think you have a positive ID.

Your job is to hide yourself, and arrange for some dummy targets, and try to figure out where your enemy is. If the drones are partly autonomous, just killing the enemy may not be enough.

IIRC, in Afghanistan they found that wells were sometimes connected by tunnels of considerable antiquity. Good luck with the drones there.

No comments: