The Islamic State has released a video which claims to show a drone attack on a Syrian government ammunition depot on October 15th.
The video has clear footage of what appears to be a drone hovering over a collection of military equipment and dropping at least two bombs on it. The ensuing fire and explosions appear to destroy the supply depot.
The last year has seen significant advancements in the Islamic State’s use of drones, albeit small, off-the-shelf types. Commercial drones, costing only a couple hundred dollars, have been used to drop small explosives like hand grenades. They have proven to be especially effective in compact, urban terrain. The Battle of Mosul saw extensive use of drones by both ISIS and the Iraqi military.
In the video, the drones can be seen dropping small bombs, and whoever is piloting them appears to have a level of competence at the task. The bombs dropped, at least those which are shown, impact their intended targets. It is not immediately clear from the video footage alone if the ensuing explosions from ammunition cooking off are directly related to the drone’s bombs.
Drone technology is rapidly evolving. According to a report from Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone, for the Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget the Department of Defense is on track to spend $7 billion on drone technology, a 90% increase from the Pentagon’s own predictions in 2013 of how much they would be spending in 2018. This spending includes counter-drone technology development.
In addition to small, quad-copter style drones appearing on the battlefield, the United States has on a number of occasions engaged “pro-Syrian” drones which were attacking U.S. allies on the ground.
Watch the video here:
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) October 24, 2017
Image courtesy of Twitter