The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used the world’s first swarm of artificial intelligence (AI)-guided combat drones in an attack on the Gaza Corridor in mid-May, according to the latest issue of New Scientist magazine. The swarm of small drones was used to locate, identify and attack the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the first time a swarm of drones has been used in combat.
The Israeli army has been busy since 2019 deploying brigade-level “multifaceted” units of elite soldiers and technical experts to test and operate a large amount of new equipment to improve operational flexibility and firepower, including transforming a mortar support unit into a “seek and destroy” (S&D) company. “(S&D) company, equipping it with autonomous drones that operate in swarms to gather intelligence, capture targets and conduct precision attacks.
When the Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out on May 6, the new S&D company quickly became the first military unit to operate a swarm of drones in combat, the report said. Within days, the results were reportedly spectacular, with the new combat unit completing more than 30 missions using drone swarms, precision weapons and the C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence) integrated electronic messaging system, destroying dozens of enemy targets several kilometers outside the border and thwarting Hamas’ efforts to The Israeli military has been able to carry out more than 30 missions, destroying dozens of enemy targets kilometers outside the border and thwarting commando infiltration operations, roadside bombs, anti-tank missile ambushes and sniper tactics.
It is understood that the military drones that Israel put into action this time. The military drones, including the Thor vertical takeoff and landing quadcopter drone developed by Israeli defense company Elbit Systems, can be used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions on land and at sea and are propelled by electricity. The miniature drone can fly at an altitude of 3,600 meters and can fly normally in high winds and rain, with an endurance of 75 minutes, a 10-kilometer radius of operation and the ability to mount 3 kilograms of ammunition.
Israel’s AI system can direct a group of these drones to locate the enemy, indicate targets, allow command posts to assess targets, strike selected targets, and conduct battle damage assessments (BDA) in complex areas within minutes.
And with the success of these “seek and destroy” companies, Israel’s Ground Forces Command has recommended that all conventional combat support companies be converted to “seek and destroy” companies next year.