January 12, 2018

IntelBrief: The Rising Threat from Armed Drones

The age of armed drones as the prerogative of nation-states is over, and the age of widely available unmanned armed drones is at hand.
  • On January 11, Russia accused Turkish-supported Syrian rebels of conducting swarming drone attacks on two Russian bases.
  • The attacks on the Russian-operated Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility involved 13 low-tech drones carrying explosives.
  • While the U.S. and other major powers have long used high-tech drones like the MQ-9 Reaper for surveillance and air-to-ground attacks, the next generation of military and repurposed civilian drones will be more widespread than their predecessors.
  • The widespread availability of armed drones will be a significant and destabilizing shift for national armies and security forces engaged in combat and counter-terrorism.