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Assessing the Effectiveness of a Combat UGV Swarm in Urban Operations

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AERP05_08
Published May 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Fighting in urban areas is extremely complex and challenging due to multi-story structures, new engagement conditions, and the consideration of civilian-military relations, but recent technological advancements could enable the military to employ robotic platforms in swarms to help overcome operational challenges in an urban environment.

Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

The global trend of urbanization that began after World War II continues to grow rapidly. In 2014, 54 percent of the world's population resided in urban areas, compared to only 30 percent in 1950, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, that number will reach 66 percent. This global trend necessarily contributes to a shift in the characteristics of any future potential conflicts, and as a result, in the way urban warfare would be conducted.

Fighting in urban areas is extremely complex and challenging. The third dimension in urban areas, such as subterranean and multi-story structures, affects the line of sight and engagement conditions, thus increasing the complexity of the environment. In addition, the presence of civilians introduces constraints, such as reduced air or artillery support for ground troops, to minimize non-combatant causalities and collateral damage. The complexity of the environment requires better situational awareness, equipment, and training to overcome these challenges.