According to the Post Millennial, the documents say that the research and development of “massive autonomous vehicle swarms” will be managed by the Stragetic Technology Office of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
While the program is not formally announced yet, DARPA confirmed that they are moving forward with the project which is officially titled the “Autonomous Multi-Domain Adaptive Swarms-of-Swarms,” or AMASS, program.
“AMASS will create the ability to dynamically command and control (C2) unmanned, autonomous swarms of various types (i.e., swarms-of-swarms) with a common C2 language for Theatre-level counter-Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities,” according to the documents.
The drones will reportedly be equipped with many tools, from thing as benign as radar jamming to lethal attacks.
DARPA officials said the swarms will be assigned “through an optimization process that considers mission objectives, priorities, risks, resource availability, swarm capabilities, and timing.”
Humans will be in charge of the decisions of AMASS drones as mandated by U.S. defense policy.
AMASS is one of the first programs of its kind, taking drone warfare to completely new levels despite reportedly being in the “planning stages.” However, DARPA is working on the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics Program—which would only require 250 drones, as opposed to thousands—for several years
The organization is currently collecting bids for the AMASS project, which totals out at $78 million.
Israel was the first nation to use a drone swarm in conflict, but it was nothing compared to what AMASS could be.
Experts on drones are concerned about the efficacy and management of a swarm of such massive size.
“As the swarm grows in size, it’ll become virtually impossible for humans to manage the decisions,” said Zachary Kallenborn, a “drone swarms, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction analyst and policy fellow at George Mason University. “In theory, AMASS could be entirely non-lethal, carrying out jamming or other non-kinetic attacks in support of other platforms that actually destroy the defenses; I think that’s unlikely though.”
“A massive drone swarm prone to errors would be a terrifying thing — a new weapon of mass destruction,” Kallenborn added.