The Royal Air Force’s experiments with drone swarms show they can overwhelm enemy defenses, and the concept would be ready for action in a war, according to the U.K. military service’s chief of staff.

Air Chief Marshall Sir Mike Wigston told the Global Air and Space Chiefs’ Conference 2022 in London that the RAF’s 216 Test and Evaluation Squadron and the Rapid Capabilities Office trialed five drone types in 13 experiments with various payloads and equipment over three years. The work yielded enough insights for the service to declare an “operationally useful and relevant capability,” using its current fleet of drones, he said.

“We are exploring new models of capability delivery and accelerated production ‘when we need them’ rather than ‘in case we need them,’ from the twin jet 3D-printed Pizookie, to commercially available large drones fitted with novel payloads, to large quadcopters,” Wigston said.

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