Small Wars Journal

Islamic State's Drone Operation Faltering, But U.S. Commanders See Broader Danger Ahead

Islamic State's Drone Operation Faltering, But U.S. Commanders See Broader Danger Ahead by W.J. Hennigan – Los Angeles Times

U.S. airstrikes across eastern Syria have hobbled Islamic State's deadly drone program, U.S. officials say, but commanders warn that proliferation of the inexpensive technology may allow terrorist groups to launch other aerial attacks around the globe.

U.S.-backed fighters have reported small drones flown by the militants seven times this month in Iraq and Syria as Islamic State struggles to maintain the crumbling borders of its self-declared caliphate, according to the U.S. military task force in Baghdad.

That’s down from more than 60 drone sightings earlier this year, especially during the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was liberated in early July. Dozens of Iraqis were killed or wounded by 40-millimeter grenades and light explosives dropped from remote-controlled devices that one U.S. commander likened to killer bees.

The use of camera-equipped quadcopters and model-plane-sized drones, sometimes flying in swarms, had become a signature tactic of Islamic State, much as the growing U.S. fleet of large missile firing Predator and Reaper drones have changed the face of modern warfare.

Islamic State had a separate division to purchase the drones from commercial websites and other sources in China, India and Turkey, according to U.S. officials. Engineers in Islamic State upgraded the power systems so the devices could fly longer and drop crude munitions on opposing forces.

Over the last two months, U.S. warplanes have destroyed several Islamic State drone depots, machine workshops and pilot schools…

Read on.



Thu, 09/28/2017 - 6:07pm

This is a weak article with some questionable hyperbole.

Let's try this:

Quote 1: "In a perfunctory tone, the young intelligence briefer recited the details of the July 2014 Battle of Zelenopillya, in which a single Russian artillery “fire strike” almost destroyed two Ukrainian mechanized battalions in a few minutes."

Quote 2: "But Russian tactical drones, which spot for artillery, are far superior (and far more numerous) than ours. In 2014, when the Battle of Debaltseve began, the Ukrainians reported that as many as eight Russian tactical drones orbited over their heads at any one time."

Quote 3: "Additionally, the electronic warfare technology demonstrated by the Russians in Ukraine is the best in the world, far better than ours. During the 240-day siege of the Donetsk airport, the Russians were able to jam GPS, radios and radar signals. Their electronic intercept capabilities were so good that the Ukrainians’ communications were crippled. Ukrainian commanders complained that a punishing barrage would follow any radio transmission within seconds."

Effective multi-domain battle (air, land, and EME/space) conducted at the tactical level through coordinated regular, irregular and special purpose forces. Saturating the battlefield with manned and unmanned sensor systems are effective offensive and defensive tactics e.g. tiered snipers and UAS.…

These are the lessons learned from Ukraine and Syria, which were also refined during ZAPAD 17 via conventional and asymmetric warfare drills.

Next, the original article recycles defeat the device and associated operator(s), which leads to targeting the specialized cells or quote:

“We achieved the greatest effect against their program by simply killing the people that have weaponized it,” he said.

That is the greatest effect???

With the ubiquitous nature of COTS systems, technical data and TTPs on-line,and receptive audience, we are in for a long problem set, where a 400.00 UAS compliments a 350.00 IED. The symptoms have spread from the ground to the air and we are going to treat them...