Nearly 200 US Marines gathered at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton to test out an array of the military’s most advanced new weaponry – including several devices to disable or destroy Unarmed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and combat exoskeleton designed by Lockheed Martin which allows soldiers to carry loads of up to 200 lbs. over long distances.
US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Briar Purty, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division tests Drone Killer Counter-UAS Technology during Urban Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2018 (ANTX-18) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. on March 21, 2018. US Marine Corps Photo
Other weapons include “bomb-bearing and swarm-capable drones” already deployed against Russian military bases in Syria in January.
(DoD demonstration video, Oct. 2016)
“103 Perdix micro-drones launched from three U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. It demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing. “Due to the complex nature of combat, Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) Director William Roper. “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”
Captain Ben Brewster’s rifle company would fight and operate under a “protective bubble” created by layering offensive and defensive UAVs – both “organic to the company” and from the larger Marine air-ground task force which would include systems and equipment designed to kill or neutralize enemy drones – reports U.S. Naval Institute News.
“I’ve never had to deal with IEDs that can attack me…from quadcopters,” said Brewster, commander of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines.
Three drones flitted overhead at the Range 131 Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) facility here, and an “enemy” drone – a bat-wing-shaped UAS – sliced through the air as Third Platoon moved among buildings around a town square.
“Anyone of these could have a two-pound IED (improvised explosive device)” or act as a spotter or command-and-control for an enemy force, he said.
“I need the ability for my Marines to be able to jam these drones,” he added. –USNI
And with the expected crowded urban skies, he noted, Marines will need systems to help sort friend from foe in the air, along with counter-UAS technology with directional jamming capabilities. “Trying to figure out that part is what we’re experimenting” during U5G, he added.
Several naval warfare centers and military laboratories joined 48 companies for U5G, showcasing 79 technologies that included sensors that see through walls, facial recognition software, “smart” networked radio, micro drones and an enhanced thermal imager with displayed information, as well as vehicles, weapons and munitions.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation are hosting U5G, the latest in a series of Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTX) where military research and development organizations join with industry to demonstrate rapidly-emerging technologies and concepts. It follows on last year’s Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise at Camp Pendleton that solicited and examined dozens of concepts like drones, mobile networks and unmanned boats to support Marines operating at sea and landing ashore. –USNI.org
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