Unmanned Aerial Systems for terror

AriKudler2Unmanned air systems (UAS) are becoming a weapon of choice for terrorists. This is the assessment of Israeli terror experts.

On November 2012 Israel conducted an operation against Hamas in “Operation Pillar of Defense” but our memory is too short. This may repeat itself and we can only assess that in some hidden places in Gaza UAS are being prepared.

The UAS shot down by Israeli air force (IAF) F-16s on October 6th, over southern Israel, was launched from Lebanon where there is a permanent presence of Iranian experts helping the Hezbollah terror organization. The UAS flew over the Mediterranean and when it was off the Gaza shore, it assumed an eastern flight path. When it entered the Israeli airspace, it was shot down by a missile launched by one of the F-16’s, but it took about 30 minutes to do so. This is really worrying.

Experts say that performing a terrorist UAS attack is much more difficult than to do it with guns or bombs but “the effect is bigger and that is not less important:” one of them said.

Iranian UAS were launched into Israel in the past. After the IAF shot down one in 2006, over northern Israel, steps have been taken to minimize the new threat.

The detection of small and medium UAS is not simple. Their radar cross section is small and the problem becomes even greater when they assume a low altitude flight. I most cases, terror does not need the high end UASs. A basic platform with a GPS flight control system will do the job.

A small UAS carrying a relatively small warhead can cause a major disaster if it hits a critical site like one of Israel’s off shore gas production rigs. The big question is – are we ready for that?

So Israel, finds itself in a very peculiar situation. It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of UAS of all types and sizes, and now faces a big problem defending itself from the threat they pose.