DRONES AS IEDs: THE OMNIPOTENT AERIAL THREAT


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By Ashwani Gupta

Abstract

The use of mortar rounds with short fuzes to detonate in near vicinity of the US helicopters was among the first uses of modifying a weapon system to use as aerial IEDs in Iraq in 2006. The Islamic State first used a drone to kill two Kurdish fighters besides injuring two French Special Forces soldiers in October 2016. The attack was unique in many ways: for one, it was innovative in its application in using open market commercially available technology; second, deceptive as the IED exploded when it had been taken to the base for examination and third: it was not a mature and tested war-fighting machine for which counter-measures had been developed.

Aerial guided IEDs or drones as weapon systems represent innovative use of commercially available technology to inflict casualties on security forces and, most importantly, gain dividends in far greater proportion than the force applied. The IED carrying drone is now the poor man’s guided weapon, available at a cost of less than $1,000 dollars, with the added benefit of easy availability, re-usability, and with built in propaganda effect1. They can be game changers in the asymmetric warfare due to their inherent advantages over the conventional road side IEDs. Their successful application gives strategic dividends by a small-scale tactical action against which there are no defined counter-measures.

Source: Counter UAS Network online – May 2020


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