first published on May 23, 2018 by Josh
Terror organizations like the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, have been the kings of improvisation on the battlefield for almost 17 years now. Operating on shoe string budgets, with very little training, they have been adapting to their battlefields by using every tool available in order to inflict carnage on full-size military forces that are far superior to them. While some of these improvisations have been absolute failures, like condom bombs and any firing position they try to create, others have been absolute strokes of genius that have allowed them to remain relevant on the battlefield against even the world’s greatest military super powers.
The improvised explosive device for example, while not a direct invention of these terror organizations, have been mastered by small cells of individuals within these terror groups. Using them effectively, and in high numbers the groups have been able to attempt to dictate the movements of their enemies. On top of this, they also have the suicide borne vehicle improvised explosive device which turns the average vehicle into an explosive battering ram and opens up large scale attacks for them. Most recently however, what we have seen is modified commercial drones carrying small payloads of explosives to conduct direct attacks against targets of opportunity that present themselves in open terrain.
Tiny commercial drones, not much larger than the average laptop, are currently being used by groups like the Islamic State to carry out a new terrifying style of attack against the Iraqi military, and their enemies in Syria. After being purchased online, and having their firmware bypassed in order to allow them to fly in their geographic region, they are modified even more by having any excess weight stripped off of them. Following this, some more fine-tuning to the rotor strength is completed, along with a simple mechanism that allows them to carry and release a single modified 40mm grenade, and the new weapon system is ready to take flight to conduct miniature airstrikes.
We will continue to see strikes like this until the Iraqi military manages to find a way to defeat the threat of these commercial drones, or until they are handed a solution by their counter-parts in Operation Inherent Resolve. For now, with no real solution on the horizon that we know about, the best thing the Iraqi ground forces can do is pay attention to the sounds above them. When they hear that lawn-mower like noise that is indicative of one of these small drones, they need to button up their vehicles in order to prevent a successful aerial attack like this from happening, which was only effective because the round was able to land inside of the vehicle to sympathetically detonate all of the explosives inside.