Currently, the US Armed Forces finished with the first part of its Golden Horde demonstration effort, which is a new type of weapon based on semi-autonomous AI that seeks out its programmed targets, reported Defense News.

Self-homing munitions

The development of swarming autonomous weapons like drones to seek out targets is considered a high priority by military planners. This technology essentially relies on basic intelligence to guide them.

According to Gen. Arnold Bunch, head of Air Force Materiel Command, the technology is not yet ready is still being researched. An alternative to getting the systems developed is to use virtual technology to design and engineer what needs to be incorporated in swarming weapons technology.

Bunch told a Defense Writers Group event on June 4, cited Report Door, "We can determine what we should get out of this system, then we'll look for potential ways to turn this into a program of record." He added that for now, it is not yet in the full stages of development.

Weapons demo

The last test, conducted last May 25 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, enabled the service to accomplish all three Golden Horde strategic goals, based on a press release from the service. Golden Horde is one of the four primary Vanguard activities of the Air Force Research Laboratory that helps to drive breakthrough innovations via prototyping and experimenting.

Does the US Air Force use its swarming munitions? The test is whether a final system can be designed to fully implement it.

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Used for the trial are two F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, from Florida. They were armed with six Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDB) that are modified versions of Boeing's Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) that was launched.

All the six CSDBs were networked to each one and with a ground station connected to all of them. The goal of linking all six munitions was achieved with a sophisticated radio network for military use. Tests before were with two and four weapons.

The Air Force finished the second goal by transmitting an in-flight target correction via the ground station to the cluster of CSDBs, ordering the bombs to abandon their present trajectory and seek a new target.

Dual CSDBs conducted a synchronized time-on-target assault on a specific target for the final objective, and two other collaborative munitions attacked two separate targets.

A success showing the lethality of such a system

The Georgia Tech Research Institute's algorithm for controlling the weapons to attack specific targets was a success. The test proved that the technology of using swarming smart munition linked to a base station has potential.  

A statement by AFRL commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, mentioned by Amp Goo, "The Golden Horde or other systems like it should help the Air Force handle many of its challenges and opportunities, but we're only scratching the surface of what's plausible."

Nonetheless, it is yet uncertain which technologies would be facilitated by the Golden Horde project. Ever since it was proposed as a Vanguard initiative in 2019, the Air Force has significantly limited the proportion of the endeavor.

Should the US Air Force use its swarming munitions in the future, it would be dependent on the direction planners will take.

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