An Overview of DARPA's Service Academies Swarm Challenge

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DARPA created the Service Academies Swarm Challenge to help make effective unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarm tactics a reality. The Challenge is a collaboration between the Agency and the three U.S. military Service academies—the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. An experiment at its heart, the research effort is designed to encourage students to develop innovative offensive and defensive tactics for swarms of small UAVs.

The Service Academies Swarm Challenge is the most recent example of how DARPA works to ensure the technological superiority of U.S. military forces by periodically engaging the U.S. military Service academies in research-oriented competitions.

A fourth-year capstone design course, the Swarm Challenge has pushed students to achieve “zero to swarm in eight months.” The goal: help the academies go from having little swarm-related expertise to developing capabilities with potentially near-term applicability for operational training and fielding—all within one academic year.

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