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Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle on Air Force’s Golden Horde Swarming Bombs Program

1 min read
Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle
Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle Commander AFRL

Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), said the service will conduct a second test of the Golden Horde swarming bombs later in February 2021, Defense News reported Thursday. 

“We’re looking forward to two more flights this month, in fact, with four collaborative small diameter bomb weapons, and I’m looking at time on target to try to up the game a little bit,” Pringle said Thursday at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies-hosted event. “This program is still progressing, and we’re really excited about where it’s going in 2021.” 

One of AFRL’s top three priorities, the Golden Horde program involves a swarm of networked munitions equipped with an operational playbook that contains a collection of predetermined rules to facilitate autonomous operations.

The service carried out its first test of the program in Dec. 2020, meeting nine of the 13 objectives. However, the swarming bombs failed to send guidance commands to the navigation systems due to software issues, resulting in the munitions hitting a failsafe target location.

Pringle said she plans to meet with Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the service’s program executive for weapons, to discuss the Golden Horde program, including its transition into an operational platform.

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