A van full of insurgents speeds through the desert. They do not notice a series of networked ground sensors that have begun tracking their every move.
Hovering somewhere overhead, a tiny robot points its camera at the van and takes note of its color scheme and markings. An even bigger drone, thousands of feet above its hovering kin, maintains a God’s-eye vigil on the whole hunt.
Everything these robots see is radioed to monitors thousands of miles away — and into the targeting systems of a B-52 bomber winging, silent and nearly invisible, several miles overhead. …
Did [this test last week of the Army Future Combat Systems] work? Kinda.
The robots spotted the van; their targeting data bounced to a nearby unit of specially-equipped Humvees, then across the network to an Air Force intelligence cell in Langley, Virginia, then back to the B-52 — all in just seconds. The bomber simulated dropping a guided bomb to “destroy” the van. …
“There is ‘works’ and then there is ‘works,’” John Pike, an analyst with Globalsecurity.org, told Wired.com.
“A considerable fraction of the FCS network hardware does not currently exist,” Pike said.