Someone is flying drone swarms over Colorado. Local residents have reported swarms of up to seventeen drones flying organised patterns over grids that appear to be up to twenty-five kilometres square. The drones are of considerable size, five or six feet across, suggesting considerable financial investment in the project. This would tend to rule out a private operator. At the same time, both police and military have denied using the drones, although they appear to be relaxed about the tests and have urged local residents not to try and shoot at the drones or try to bring them down. The most likely explanation is either a US intelligence agency or a private contractor working on behalf of the agencies. Expect to hear a great deal more about drone swarms in coming years. This is seen as the next stage of drone use by military and intelligence agencies. Use of large and expensive drones such as the Reaper that killed Qasem Soleimani will continue, but the use of swarms will add another type of capability.
There may be a connection in the attack by Somalian al-Shabaab militants on Manda airbase near Lamu in Kenya on 5th January. Lamu is just over the border from Somalia. The base was used by US surveillance aircraft. Al-Shabaab claimed that they destroyed seven aircraft and numerous vehicles, the US has said that three American personnel, four US and Kenyan aircraft and three vehicles were destroyed. The aircraft listed did not include drones, which are not flown from this airbase, but did include surveillance aircraft that carry out similar tasks including a modified Havilland Canada Dash-8 aircraft. Terrorists are becoming increasingly aware that the intelligence threat is from the air as much as within their own ranks.