A new narrative has emerged in military circles that indicates an added feature to the never-ending conflict in the Middle East, and one which threatens to become another justification for the wider War on Terror: ISIS drones.
If we look to the Washington Post – the new de facto voice of the CIA/military complex – we find that the “Use of weaponized drones by ISIS spurs terrorism fears.’ Highlighting an alleged incident in Mosul where a six-foot drone dropped bombs on an Iraqi military outpost, we find an indication that this has become a new reality that the armies of the West now need to contend with:
The incident was among dozens in recent weeks in a rapidly accelerating campaign of armed drone strikes by the Islamic State in northern Iraq. The terrorist group last month formally announced the establishment of a new “Unmanned Aircraft of the Mujahideen” unit, a fleet of modified drones equipped with bombs, and claimed that its drones had killed or wounded 39 Iraqi soldiers in a single week.
According to the Post, though sounding more likely pulled straight from a comic book, the villains proclaimed:
“A new source of horror for the apostates!” the group’s official al-Naba newsletter declared.
While the article admits that the current level of sophistication is laughable by comparison to the advanced militaries of the world, it stresses that these new developments show a clear intent and that the villains have undertaken a “small start, big ambitions.” Troops in the area claim to have uncovered drone-making facilities and documents that seem to outline a path to a much more dangerous future full of “surprises.”
While some of this sounds like a re-hash of the WMDs-in-Iraq debacle from the Bush years, the fact is that there does exist a global drone arms race that has spurred one country after another to initiate drone programs that can keep up with the developments of other nations. Conveniently, it is often ignored that the entire race has its origins in the U.S. and Israel, but that merely highlights the inherent nature of the problem-reaction-solution paradigm that anyone making business from war is happy to perpetuate.
At the same time this “problem” of ISIS drones is presented, a counter measure is already in development. In my article from September, 2015, “Lasers and Electronic Warfare To Be Used in New World of Drones and Anti-Drones,” I covered the outer limits of what was being revealed to the public as to where drone warfare was headed. This included everything from comprehensive electronic defense shields capable of jamming large, sophisticated drones, down to smaller land and sea-based units that could offer more narrowed targeting.
A new announcement from the Air Force, however, reveals an urgency to field small systems called Man Portable Aerial Defense Systems (MANPADS) that work essentially the same as shoulder-fired missiles. The “urgency” has resulted in a $15.6 million no-bid contract to a subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace Industries called ELTA North America, Inc. As reported by Defense One, the exact technology being sought remains a mystery, but the company has been making the rounds at trade shows with a different type of portable system:
It just so happens IAI has been at international trade shows touting such a system called “Drone Guard.” The system’s radars can detect, track and jam small drones. Last year, the company said it had sold Drone Guard to “several customers for critical asset and personnel protection,” but did not disclose the buyers.
A video of Drone Guard can be seen below:
Normally with tech announcements of this type, it tends to be little more than a standard sales pitch to potential military customers, touting its many technical solutions-based elements that stand above its peers. However, in this case, the company does seem to have found a buyer in the U.S. Air Force, which heralds a firm direction in the future of drone warfare, as well as the threats we will be sold to justify it.