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Ready for the race: Air separation drone swarms vs. air defence systems

11th April 2024 - 16:26 GMT | by ​Neil Thompson in London


The expected arrival of fleets of swarming air separation drone units will pose new challenge to anti-drone systems. (Photo: UK Ministry of Defence via Wikimedia Commons)

As the dynamics of aerial combat rapidly evolve, Chinese scientists have engineered a sophisticated air separation drone model that can fragment into up to six drones, each capable of executing distinct battlefield roles and challenging the efficacy of current anti-drone defences such as the UK’s Dragonfire laser system.

In late March 2024, regional press announced that Chinese researchers had developed a military grade air separation drone model able to split into up to six separate drones.

Researchers at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, however, said the smaller drones could also operate together as a swarm, collaborating to complete a mission, with different drones taking on different tasks such as command, reconnaissance, tracking or launching a strike.

China’s breakthrough in air separation and swarm technology could significantly change drone warfare just as the conflict in Ukraine has been underlining the growing importance of drones on the modern

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​Neil Thompson


​Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson is a freelance journalist for Shephard and other publishers. He currently works as …

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