I remember posting over in the SH a few years ago about this very thing.
My sense of things is that a drone swarm capability could be absolutely devastating.
What’s more, what intrigues me is that such a weapons system doesn’t require “state level” resources to be effective. I could envision an organization with resources as low as a few billion dollars being able to effectively neutralize pretty much any target they wanted.
Imagine filling semi trucks with “hunter-killer” drones. Say, 10 million of them. At $50/per, that’s only $500 million. Let’s say you can pack 20k drones into each truck.
That’s 500 trucks filled with hunter-killer drones. Pick your target(s). Say you want to neutralize every politician in Chicago. Send your trucks throughout the city. At the specified time, the roofs of the trailers all open simultaneously, releasing your drone swarm. They have facial recognition software pre-programmed to identify your targets. They buzz around and, if they spot a target, they fly right up to it and blow themselves up, completing their mission.
If they encounter a window or door, they blow themselves up, creating a pathway for the next drone behind them. All of which is coordinated via “Overlord” drones flying high overhead. The Overlords track the progress of the hunter-killers, redirect the remaining ones, etc.
There are thousands of entities with the financial wherewithal to do that. If we ever find ourselves at war with China, my expectation is that something like this is what we would see. What if China programmed their drones to target Trump voters? Think the talking heads on CNN/MSNBC would object, or cheer?
As I said on the SH (had to be a few years ago), there is nothing about any of that that is science fiction. As demonstrated by the Icarus article, every predicate technology exists. It’s just a question of integration, and it appears that most of that has already been done.
How would you go about defending against that? It would be relatively simple to flood the RF space with white noise and disrupt their signals, depriving them of coordination capability. That would help. But you would end up jamming your own coms in the process, and the independent hunter-killers would still be out there.
Maybe I’ll go skeet shooting this week, just to keep my eye fresh.