Episode 112 – Deploying the Swarm: Autonomous Drone Operations in Denied Environments

In episode 112 of the Aerospace Advantage, Deploying the Swarm: Autonomous Drone Operations in Denied Environments, John Baum chats about the challenges of operating drone swarms during a great power conflict with Dr. Doug Meador, the Autonomous Collaborative Vehicles Portfolio manager within AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate; Lt Colonel Ryan “SCUDS” Slaughter, the lead for Autonomous Collaborative Platforms in the Headquarters AF Strategy, Integration and Requirements directorate; plus Caitlin Lee and Mark Gunzinger from the Mitchell Institute team. In popular depictions, drones swarms always seem to show up at exactly the right moment, in seemingly infinite numbers, to attack their targets. But in real life combat, deploying drone swarms will require new, thoughtful and creative approaches to operations, logistics, and maintenance.  As the Air Force gets ready to field a new generation of autonomous drones – known as collaborative combat aircraft–CCAs–it will have to address these very practical considerations.  On today’s podcast, we bring together operators, scientists and policy experts to identify the challenges of deploying a drone swarm in a combat environment and their implications for CCA design.


Host: Lt Col (Ret.) John “Slick” Baum, Senior Fellow, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Producer: Shane Thin

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Dr. Doug Meador, Autonomous Collaborative Vehicles Portfolio manager, AFRL Aerospace Systems Directorate

Guest: Lt Colonel Ryan “SCUDS” Slaughter, Autonomous Collaborative Platforms Lead, Headquarters AF Strategy, Integration and Requirements Directorate

Guest: Dr. Caitlin Lee, Senior Fellow for UAV and Autonomy Studies, The Mitchell Institute

Guest: Mark Gunzinger, Director, Future Concepts and Capability Assessments, The Mitchell Institute

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