Drone Swarms Are About to Change the Balance of Military Power

History is littered with similar stories. A favorite comes from the time of Alexander the Great. His conquests are as much a technological story as a political one. 

When Alexander’s army stepped onto the battlefield it was not only with a new technology—the sarissa, a 16-foot spear—but also with a new conception of how to use that weapon in tight, impregnable phalanxes. 

USS Gerald R. Ford, was on its maiden voyage, having recently been completed at a price tag of $13 billion. This makes it the most expensive warship in history.

For that same sum, a nation could purchase 650,000 Shahed drones. It would only take a few of those drones finding their target to cripple and perhaps sink the Ford. 

Fortunately, the Ford and other U.S. warships possess ample missile defense systems that make it highly improbable that a few, or even a few dozen, Shahed drones could land direct hits. 

But rapid developments in AI are changing that.

Wall Street Journal 14 March 2024


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