Around 2012/13 companies such as DJI brought commercial and civilian drone usage to the market at an affordable price. The drones, constructed for photographers and hobbyists, offer an enjoyable view of the world below, in an easily flyable package. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for ISIS to modify these drones for offensive operations against Iraqi and allied troops in Iraq and Syria.
Overnight, ISIS gained access to a primitive Air Force and are using the technology to drop a wide array of armament on foot soldiers, tanks, and structures with surprising accuracy. In addition, they are able to use the drones for surveillance, scouting of troop movements, and early warning detection.
Above you can see images of ISIS modifying DJI Phantom series drones to drop 40mm grenades fitted with badminton tails for stabilization. These are released from a modified switch that is activated by the drone operator.
At the moment, there are very few counter-drone options available for Iraqi and allied forces making the attacks more lethal. Iraqi forces attempt to shoot down the drones using small arms fire, however, due to their low cost and accessibility, ISIS can easily and quickly replace them if they become damaged.
While there is no doubt the US military is working on possible solutions, it may take a while before they are properly implemented in the field. This marks a new era of warfare that will only become more prevalent as drone technology increases.