WASHINGTON, BM – A US Air Force lab is currently developing and testing bombs whose electronics interact during a swarm’s flight to hit the target even more accurately. The program is called Golden Horde Vanguard.
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The program started in 2019. Its main purpose is the interaction of a swarm of bombs, such as those fired by a group of fighters, to work in network compatibility only by sharing data using a radio signal to defeat the common goal. The US military says they are not robotic devices and do not have integrated artificial intelligence, but use an autonomous approach against the enemy.
The principle of operation is as follows – a group or swarm of bombs perform coordinated actions by sharing measurements of the location of the target and combine the information of each bomb into one, which reduces the possibility of error for the exact location of the enemy target.
With this program, the US Air Force is trying to change the rules of the game. Assuming that at the time of battle all weapon systems are pre-programmed, the risk of unforeseen action by the enemy to destroy these systems is high. However, the use of network weapons implies that they do not have a pre-drawn plan, but prepare it during the battle in real-time, thus overcoming the surprising actions of the enemy.
The US Air Force recently tested a similar interaction between small-diameter bombs. The lab says the tests were successful, but there is still no complete picture of the program’s capabilities to say it will be launched or integrated into the US Air Force.
According to Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., the program begins new tests that are likely to be “outdoors.” The military will also need to define very clearly the future costs and potential benefits of the program if it is officially launched. Isn’t this a signal that at some point the United States will offer its partners such a solution?
The only thing that is clear so far is that recent demonstrations of network interaction between bombs have provided an excellent starting point for future comparisons. The question remains if the program successfully continues its tests, and at some point, the Pentagon decides to put it into operation, whether all fighters will be equipped with such bombs or only part of them.
Of course, another question arises – is this program designed only for the future next-generation US fighter currently under development?
“There may be certain parts of what we found in the Golden Horde that we can [apply] in another weapon or system, but in and of itself, we’re not going to make a program of record,” Bunch said.
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