From Swarms to Swarming: Shocking New Advances in Warfare


NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center/Jim Ross, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed J.L. “Jim” Hancock.

The J.L. Hancock Commentaries

Price and Hancock discuss the incredible advances in the military use of drones.

Combat drones, also known as Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), have transformed modern warfare. These pilotless machines offer several advantages: they can stay airborne for long durations, fly into dangerous situations without risking human life, and provide high-precision strikes.

Currently, combat drones are typically controlled by a human pilot using a ground-based station. This pilot makes critical decisions about targeting and engagement. However, there’s a growing trend towards increased autonomy. Drones are being equipped with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that allows them to perform some tasks without human input, such as automatic target recognition and tracking.

The use of drone swarms, consisting of multiple drones working together, is another area of active development. These swarms could be used for overwhelming enemy defenses, confusing air radars, or carrying out complex missions. However, there are concerns about the safety and ethics of autonomous weapons systems. International treaties are currently being debated to regulate the development and use of such weapons.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the two main types of combat drone use:

  • Individual Drones: These are typically larger, more sophisticated drones flown by a human pilot. They are used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and precision strikes. Examples include the US MQ-9 Reaper and the Turkish Bayraktar TB2.
  • Drone Swarms: These are groups of smaller, less complex drones that can operate together autonomously or with a limited degree of human control. They are envisioned for missions like suppressing enemy air defenses or overwhelming enemy positions.

The use of combat drones is likely to continue to grow in the coming years. Increased autonomy and the development of drone swarms will likely lead to new tactics and capabilities on the battlefield. However, the ethical and legal implications of these technologies will need to be carefully considered.


J.L. “Jim” Hancock was born in Albuquerque, NM. He has worked as a martial arts instructor, lifeguard, foreign missionary, and river guide. In 2002, he enlisted in the Navy and spent twenty years as a cryptologist.

During his time in the military, Jim toiled away in the dark corners of the government intelligence communities, learned two Asian languages, and eventually conducted over one hundred combat operations with special operations forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. During the last six years of his career, he worked as the senior enlisted advisor over future concepts and innovation for the Navy special operations community where he became a well-known subject matter expert in unmanned systems, 5G, and artificial intelligence.

He is presently writing a series and a standalone novel.

The Voodoo series involves a skilled military technician facing the evolving global threat of an international arms race for artificial intelligence.

His upcoming standalone novel, The Devil and the Pendulum, is a modern riff on The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. But instead of demons learning to tempt man, The Devil and the Pendulum consists of Russian agents learning to manipulate modern America.

J.L. Hancock lives in San Diego, CA, with his wife and two children.

You can find out more about emerging tech trends at his website You can also purchase his recent technothriller, The Hawk Enigma, on Amazon.

Connect with him through social media:

Twitter/X: @authorJLHancock


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