NEW DELHI: In a decade from now, swarms of unmanned Indian-made drones could enter enemy airspace, fly autonomously to their target and use their advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to seek out and launch coordinated attacks on targets such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror training camp in Balakot.
Each swarm could have dozens of individual drones. If detected, some of the drones would be shot down, but the sheer numbers of the swarm would overwhelm enemy defences such as surface-to-air missile units to ensure a high probability of mission success.
A team of engineers and software experts at state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and NewSpace Research and Technologies, a Bengaluru based start-up looking at next-generation aviation technologies, is working furiously to fly the first Indian swarm drone prototypes in two years. The drones have a name - ALFA-S or Air-Launched Flexible Asset (Swarm).
"This is the future of aerial warfare," said one of the project managers who asked not to be named. "With the increasing maturity of artificial intelligence technology, smart drones, like the ones we are looking at, will be able to at least partially replace pilots in some of the most dangerous missions. The Air Force will not need to sustain unacceptable levels of attrition during combat operations," said the project manager.