In the next 25 years, drones will be hunting the skies in groups and will make autonomous decisions without input from humans and carry even smarter bombs than they use today, according to the U.S. Department of Defense Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap Report.
The report is designed to be a snapshot of the future technical capability of maritime, land and air drones in the coming 25 years. It predicts, among many incredible capabilities, that drones will be able able to offload swarms of drone-bombs that will have ranges of up to 250 miles. These advanced munitions will remain in the air until a target is selected, at which point the whole drone-bomb collides into the target, similar to a kamikaze pilot.
Currently researchers are working on special ammunition made using energetic nanoparticles that have a larger surface area than standard components. This means that the chemicals inside the ammunition react quicker and create far more powerful explosions on impact.
And while current drones are manpower-intensive, with teams on the ground in both the home base country and in the combat country, the military is looking to offload as many tasks to drones as possible to cut costs, but as the report states, this could be dangerous, because as human commands are replaced with set mission directives, there are dangers that drones could deviate from the assigned mission.
To achieve the overall goal, other technologies have to be advanced first, especially in the fields of navigation and sensors. Furthermore, careful programming will have to be created that ensure the drone follows certain laws that govern their behavior and that they can learn from.
While the DOD expect this technology to be expensive, they believe it will save money in the long term and make the drones smarter and more efficient.