With add-ons such as these, the possibilities are endless and frightening!
The Islamic State has been employing drones for “conventional uses” for some time. Drones are inexpensive and a perfect fit for spying and battlefield intelligence.
We have seen these jihadists improvise booby traps from all manner of commercially-produced products for some time. Vehicle-born improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs, often triggered using cellphones, are still effective options for these fighters, and the advance of drone technology in the civilian market has created new threats that need to be addressed.
In Iraq, the Islamic State has been weaponizing drones using add-ons, similar to those that help fisherman drops hooks out at sea, to drop payloads like hand grenades.
The grenades are rigged on these drones so that the pin is released when the device is dropped.
In a recent incident, Iraqi police forces in Mosul took cover beneath the roof of a building as a drone delivered a grenade onto the structure.
No one was harmed, but the realization of a new type of threat was startling.
“We have recorded three incidents,” police Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Moayyad told AFP.
Jihadists also rigged a small hobby plane with explosives that somehow fell to the ground without detonating. Two Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters, however, retrieved the plane, and it exploded while being inspected.
Authorities believe that the use of weaponized, civilian drones is a practice that is still in its infancy, and concerns have arisen that fighters can use larger drones to carry a more deadly payload, such as chemical weapons.
What can be done to combat such asymmetric threats?
Perhaps jamming technology can be utilized to either take control of these drones or cause them to detonate in the sky before harming anyone?
Jihadists are innovative, and security forces will need to innovate themselves to counter these emerging new threats.