Pentagon to Counter Growing Drone Threat Posed by ISIS

Pentagon to Counter Growing Drone Threat Posed by ISIS

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Some Israeli-developed systems like the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Drone Guard may solve some of the problems encountered by the U.S forces fighting ISIS. These systems are aimed at countering attempts to use drones for attacks on the U.S troops.

The Pentagon is tracking ISIS growing threat to U.S. and Iraqi forces by deploying small commercial drones armed with improvised explosives devices or spy cameras that can evade detection. The drones would be deployed within two years, if not sooner, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

UAS Vision reports that the Defense Department office charged with monitoring and countering improvised explosive devices has asked that Congress approve shifting $20 million to provide seed money for a counter-drone effort.

The funds would be invested in moves to “identify, acquire, integrate and conduct testing” of technologies that would “counter the effects of unmanned aerial systems and the threats they pose to U.S. forces,” according to a budget document sent to Congress last week. It was part of a request for approval to shift $2.5 billion in defense funds from other purposes to reflect changing needs.

Commercially available drone technology has proliferated beyond hobbyists to adversaries. In its latest annual report on Iran’s military capabilities, the Defense Department said the Islamic Republic is fielding armed drones among other “increasingly lethal weapon systems.” At the Pentagon, the police force has posted “no drone” signs around the sprawling complex along with the usual “no photos” reminders.

In the fight against Islamic State, “small and tactical unmanned aerial systems” equipped with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, “pose a direct threat to U.S. and coalition forces,” according to the budget document, as quoted by UAS Vision.

The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency, the Pentagon office that has worked to combat improvised explosive devices since the 2003 Iraq war, has seen Islamic State fly “quadcopters and fixed-wing type drones you can buy commercially” as “both an IED delivery system and for reconnaissance,” according to its spokesman.

The commercial drones used by Islamic State have weighed about 50 pounds or less, he said, without providing any details on the number of attacks or resulting casualties.

In addition to using drones with full-motion video to look for attack opportunities and to monitor Iraqi Security Forces, the pilotless aircraft are being used to provide target information for vehicles carrying suicide bombs, added the spokesman.