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How the Army Out-Innovated the Islamic State’s Drones


Army.ca Relic
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Interesting... I wonder how Canada is faring in this department:

How the Army Out-Innovated the Islamic State’s Drones

A few short years ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s improvised attack drones were widely believed to be a threat so grave they could become strategically significant as the “next improvised explosive device.” Terrorist groups have weaponized commercial drones for high-profile attacks around the world from Venezuela to Yemen, but ISIL’s drone program stood out for its large scale and impact on major combat operations. In its heyday in 2017, ISIL launched 60 to 100 drone attacks per month across Syria and northern Iraq. The group flew a combination of modified commercial drones, most often Chinese-made DJI Phantom quadcopters, and bespoke drones manufactured in its own workshops. These improvised weapons were grimly effective, destroying at least 56 Iraqi military vehicles and killing or wounding more than 100 Iraqi soldiers.

American forces serving in Iraq also engaged ISIL drones hundreds of times from 2016 to 2018, but compared to Iraqi security forces, they suffered much less: As of the publication of this article, no U.S. troops have been killed by ISIL drones directly. Overall, U.S. forces “had an overwhelming success rate in either repelling, shooting down, or chasing away the majority of [ISIL drones] in Iraq and Syria [from 2016 to 2018] before they could harm our personnel or do any damage to equipment or infrastructure,” according to a Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson. A key reason for this success is that, years before American forces encountered enemy small drones on the battlefield, the U.S. Army’s emerging threat experts in the Asymmetric Warfare Group had identified drones as a viable threat and deployed counter-drone training, technology, and tactics to Army units in combat. The Army’s largely successful efforts to defeat ISIL’s improvised attack drones are an important case study in how to use rapid observation, experimentation, and collaboration to change the Army in order to defeat enemies who will continue to exploit open technological innovation and devise innovative asymmetric weapons and tactics.


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Well, sure, but if I had a grenade's worth of explosive to utilize, I'd likely aim it at a couple of local Iraqi cops in a regular cop car, rather than an up-armoured section/platoon of U.S. soldiers, with a casualty ratio to match.

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
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ISIS had a remarkable armaments industry and quickly standardized production and incorporated the latest techniques including 3D to produce adaptations of commercial products to military needs. Had they been left alone for another couple of years, they would have become a significantly more dangerous force than they were.