The current generation of swarms being envisaged by US/NATO are based on behaviourial models inspired by examples from the natural world. Foremost among these are the ways in which ‘social insects’ such as bees, ants and termites cooperate and orchestrate the division of labor among their respective ‘networks’as encapsulated by the so called ‘stigmergy‘ principle
Well that makes a lot of sense because we are totally helpless to the natural world and everyone knows that Soviet airspace has been repeatedly penetrated by bees and birds not to mention termites... NOT.
Pesticides have almost wiped out bees and ants would not do well if attacked by a TOS battalion... but if course if the US can produce trillions of drones they might have a chance... but they are themselves vulnerable to attack by much more conventional weapons that are cheaper and easier to use. So in effect they are developing attacks that can defeat a defence that is better than what they currently have... what they currently have will defeat their defences... so they will in effect be developing technologies a generation ahead of what Russia needs to defeat them and Russia will oblige because she wants to defend herself.
The two essential features required for swarming to work are connectivity and autonomy. Connectivity is required to facilitate the seamless coming together of drones that are distributed in a seemingly amorphous mass at the right moment. Also, with connectivity, drones can ‘aggregate’ and ‘disaggregate’, i.e. they can join or leave the swarm, as if one cure. One could even have a situation where a single drone might detach to get a closer look at a target and then either return or be used to carry out an attack, i.e. ad-hoc detachments for specific tasks from a swarm may be possible.
EMP turns them off... and a bee is a miracle of compact design... the size weapon payload a bee could carry for any distance would be tiny... you would need a large number of them to be effective in damaging a target... odds are that they will be rather bigger... more bird like... and with a small payload that will require the highest of accuracy to be effective with a payload likely less powerful than a hand grenade.
The control of drone swarms is done by using a decentralized planning control algorithm handling both stationary and moving obstacles, which owing to its decentralized nature is more resilient than centralized algorithms that have a single point of failure. However, in a decentralized algorithm each entity (drone) has only partial information of the operating environment and the other drones (for example, it can only see a few neighbors). The drones in a swarm therefore need to communicate with each other for information sharing and coordination of actions.
EMP takes them out enmass... if you want to protect them from EMP attack they will need to be bigger and heavier and less effective.
2. From a focus on individual platform survivability, the system moves towards swarm resiliency. As long as there are a minimum number of drones in terms of mission sufficiency, the swarm as a whole is resilient against attack.
Meaning they need to have enormous numbers to be effective relying on the fact that most air defences... especially in the west would rapidly run out of missiles and depth and be overwhelmed... they are hoping for the same with Russian defences... and of course they will be right because Russia simply can't defend every inch of Russian territory, but then the US would not be able to produce enough swarm drones... nor deliver them on site to get the needed numbers.
5. Swarms can saturate enemy defenses. However advanced contemporary air defence systems may be, they cannot handle so many threats at a time. Swarms can overwhelm enemy defenses, with ‘leakers’ getting through to neutralize the target.
The US was talking about swarm attacks in the late 1980s... to suggest the Russians have no answer is absurd... they are developing a range of solutions... there is never going to be one solution that always works, but as a bonus a lot of the solutions are dual purpose and can be used for other roles where they are outstandingly useful too... EMP weapons will work on all sorts of western electronic systems too and will make a very useful payload for some of their weapons... remember C4IR... one of those Cs is computers... EMP will make all western electronic equipment vulnerable to another form of attack... if they can perfect beam weapon models of their systems they might create a system to knock out western satellites in orbit without needing to launch a rocket from a MiG-31...
6. Swarms can perform distributed sensing and attack by dispersing assets over a wide area. A swarm can conduct distributed focused electronic attack, syncing up its electromagnetic signals to provide focused point jamming.
They could probably do all sorts of things... but then they need to transmit the information to something and lets face it... that will be targeted by a Zircon if it is close and a Bulava if it is further away.
Even assuming they don't fuck it up and they come up with capable systems that are cheap and easy to produce and have long range and wonderful payload capacity... it becomes an unusable weapon because Russia will just say you send a swarm to attack us and we will fucking nuke you because your swarms might disable our nuclear deterrent so we might as well use it before we lose it... so can these bees and birds take out ICBM warheads in space on their way to the US and EU?