The United States’ Department of Defense recently unveiled one of their newest high-tech military innovations: 3D printed drones deployable from fighter jets. These drones, known as Perdix, were designed by a MIT research team and produced by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office, all with the use of 3D printing. The utilization of this state-of-the-art technology dramatically increased the production rate, all while significantly reducing product costs to keep the project under the $20 million budget.
The Perdix drones were created with completely autonomous features that allow them to fly and work together in swarms. The drones are designed to fit inside of the flare dispensers on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets where they can be released at speeds of well over 4,000 miles per hour. Upon their release, the drones immediately display their autonomous abilities, working together as a single unit. William Roper, Director of the Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office, described just how capable the automatic abilities are:
“Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”
These drones were created to work as one and navigate to specific areas as a single unit. They are equipped with sensors to avoid collisions with one another. Although their true purpose has not been revealed by the Department of Defense, many experts assume that these drones will be used to jam enemy radars and for stealthy surveillance in foreign countries.