Terminator-like Weapon for the U.S. Army
Today, all military drones with weapons are human controlled remotely from a base and told to attack at specific targets that the operator visually sees. Future drones will be more autonomous with much less human interaction or supervision when they act together in a swarm.
The U.S. Army has been testing its new AFADS (Armed, Fully-Autonomous, drone Swarm) weapon with devastating results. Once the target is located (such as an truck convoy, tank platoon or larger) the new weapon will attack, identify programmed targets without any human intervention. The weapon has no ability to distinguish between civilian and military targets. It could become a WMD by mistake on the battlefield.
The weapon is deployed from a missile and at some point above the target dispenses a swarm of small drones to fan out and locate enemy targets (various types of hardware, like tanks) and fires an EPP. This is a high speed slug of armor piercing metal up to hundreds of meters away. This idea is already in use in the CBU-105 bomb that upon impact, scatters 40 "skeet" munitions. This weapon was first used in 2003 against a Iraqi tank column and dropped by a B-52 high above. It knocked out the entire column of tanks within seconds.
This new weapon is even more lethal. The drones are packed into GMLRS rockets that carry a 180 lb. payload and range of 70 km, ATACMS missiles with a range of 270 km. The small drones carried each have a one pound payload. There are about 10 of them inside the rocket and when released above the target, act together and will only attack new targets (not those already attacked and destroyed).
A single battery of MLRS launchers (8-9 vehicles, each with 12 missiles) could send 1000 killer drones over a target area and could rip apart a full tank division. But since these small drones cannot distinguish between civilian and military targets, there would a lot of collateral damage in terms of human life.
The US is not the only country developing such weapons. China, Russia, are not far behind and Turkey already has one, the Kargu, that has been tested in Syria, which has the potential to have autonomous swarming capability.
Future warfare is getting even more deadly!