The global drone arms race continues to heat up as nation after nation tries to keep pace with what the U.S. military has initiated.
It is thought that the number of countries now possessing surveillance drones has topped 90, with more than 20 countries having weaponized drones. As more systems come on line, naturally the capabilities of those already in the race will need upgrading along the way. This is leading to a “drone war” scenario that experts continue to warn about. Moreover, the rise of Artificial Intelligence as part of the future battlefield could lead to computer systems completely breaking away from human control.
The latest push to integrate drones onto the battlefield and prepare for a possible future where drone meets drone, sans humans, comes from Great Britain’s Royal Navy.
The Mirror reports that a large-scale drill will commence in October off the Scottish coast. It has been dubbed “Unmanned Warrior 2016” and is to include a range of robotic craft in sea and sky, and on land. While it is being downplayed as a place for defense contractors to market or solicit their wares, it is made clear that it is a demonstration of current capabilities and a projection for what might be required in the future. And of course tech firms (and allies) are welcome to “take part.”
The Navy hopes the exercise will “demonstrate British innovation and shine a spotlight on British industry” in a “tactically relevant environment”.
In January, Commander Peter Pipkin, the Navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer, told a conference in Portsmouth how the “robot wars” exercise was not a “bidding process”.
Instead, “what we are seeking to achieve is an event that re-shapes the market to provide new opportunities for everybody and shows UK industry advancement in this area”, he said.
This drill is actually part of a much larger one that is held twice per year – Exercise Joint Warrior – the largest military exercise in Europe. The integration of unmanned war machines would seem to indicate the clear direction for the future battlefield.
In actuality, the future was well planned out long ago for just this type of scenario. Regular readers might recall a combat system called MUSIC that was brought to light in 2011. It was to be a fusion of multiple unmanned platforms slated to extend across the different branches of the U.S. military – essentially playing a concert of war between the aerial, ground and sea-based drones of the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy:
Not only is MUSIC helping shape the future of CAB units and the Army but its creating connections across joint boundaries to include the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, said Maj. Gen. William T. Crosby, the Program Executive Office, Aviation.
Once again, we see that U.S. systems have been acknowledged as the spur for other countries (even allies) to achieve the best level of dominance that they can. And, as you will hear in the video below, this particular genie is never going back in the bottle … at least if the militaries of the world continue to extract outrageous levels of funding for their toys.
It appears that we are indeed swiftly heading toward a future where drones will network with one another through sea, sky and land initiating war and defending against it. The only question that remains is for how much longer humans will remain part of that architecture.
Hat Tip: ZenGardner.com
Nicholas West writes for ActivistPost.com. This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.