The threat of drones to the military

In addition to reconnaissance, the "Islamic State" (IS) first used small drones for tactical attacks and propaganda offensives. In January 2017, the "Jane's Defense Weekly" website reprinted a video released by the organization, proving for the first time that it used commercial drones to carry out attacks. The video shows two militants launching a "Skywalker" X7/8 fixed-wing drone, carrying an improvised explosive device (IED) under each wing. The video also shows 19 attacks captured by drones, including a large number of IEDs being dropped on Iraqi security forces and their vehicles on the streets of Mosul. Although the video showed that the first attack was carried out using Skywalker, in the subsequent 19 attacks, the IED appeared to be dropped by a multi-rotor drone hovering above the target. If it is launched by Skywalker, considering the flight speed and trajectory of this fixed-wing drone, its projected trajectory should be parabolic, rather than hitting the target vertically.

In January 2018, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that Russia’s base in Syria suffered a large-scale drone attack for the first time. It is said that the air defense system deployed at Hememin Air Force Base detected 10 small UAVs and 3 at Tartus Naval Base. Seven of them were destroyed by the Pantsyr-S (Pantsyr-S) short-range air defense system, and the other six were intercepted by electronic warfare units. Of the intercepted UAVs, 3 made a forced landing outside the base, and 3 exploded on landing. In Afghanistan, extremist organizations also use drones for surveillance and propaganda. For example, in October 2016, the Taliban released a video showing a suicide attack on a vehicle IED filmed by a drone.

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In September 2017, at the British International Defence Exhibition in London, Rheinmetall’s vice president of air defense business development and marketing Fabian Ksner said that both parties in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine also used drones to carry out attacks. He also mentioned that the Yemeni Houthi armed forces used drones to destroy the radar of the Saudi “Patriot” air defense missile company and used a swarm to counter the system, thereby posing a threat to the airspace protected by the “Patriot” system. At the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2018, Raytheon confirmed that commercial off-the-shelf UAV systems are easily weaponized and used by terrorists to threaten civilians, military personnel, and infrastructure. In early August, according to relevant media reports, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was assassinated by two drones loaded with explosives during the swearing-in ceremony.

In addition, the proliferation of commercial drones will also pose a threat to civil aviation. In the past two years, dangerous incidents such as the approach and collision between civil aviation passenger planes and "black flying" drones have occurred from time to time. Therefore, the military demand for drone jammer is imminent.