Warplanes: Militarizing the Swarm


April 7, 2022: A new French firm, Dronisos, has developed software that allows centralized control of hundreds of quad-copters to carry different colored lights and perform intricate and popular light shows for clients like Disneyland Paris and other large events. This attracted the attention of the French military seeking to use the Dronisos software for military applications.

Dronisos established a partnership with existing French defense firms to develop software that could control software for quad-copter swarms that perform military tasks. Larger quad-copters carry heavier payloads which can consist of one or more sensors performing a variety of functions. These include day or night vidcams, radioactivity sensors, loudspeakers, signal jammers, pyrotechnics and radio signal relays. Military swarms of ten to a hundred quad-copters equipped with different combinations of devices can perform reconnaissance, surveillance or combat support missions.

These quadcopters have short endurance, typically from 30-60 minutes depending on payload. The Dronisos would include landing and recharging quadcopters for recharging after others go aloft to maintain the size and performance of the swarm. The French Navy wants to operate smaller swarms from wrships at sea while the army could operate larger swarms on land.

This use of quadcopter swarms has been proposed before, and a Chinese firm has developed similar software for military swarms. Dronisos is the first Western firm to develop such software for, French and other NATO members seeking to make practical use of these swarms.


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