In the Middle East, the U.S. military is stepping up attacks by civilian drones. The Pentagon is looking to buy these new weapons in mass distribution.
On January 3, a new offensive was launched at Baghdad airport in Iraq against a base where US-led coalition forces are stationed. The strike was not carried out by ballistic missiles, fighter jets or fighter jets, but by two drones purchased at supermarkets for a few hundred euros. These devices loaded with ammunition are powerful.
They were intercepted by C-RAM security batteries and radar-controlled quick-fire artillery. They are designed to stop rockets and bombs with 20mm bombs. Their effectiveness is undeniable, but destroying small civilian drones loaded with ammunition is like pulling out a Passover to kill a fly. In February 2021, C-RAMs shot down a drone targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad.
But according to an internal report released by the Pentagon Financial Times, Less than 40% of these drones will be detected and intercepted. General McKenzie, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, nicknamed the “Castco drones” to refer to the chain of discount stores where you can find everything cheap.
“Using the most expensive weapons on a cheap drone is neither profitable nor efficient,” says General McKenzie. “And if you can not shoot down a craft that flies over a platform, you have no air superiority. It does not happen often. But it happens more than I would like, it’s very worrying.”
SIM card trick
The armed forces admit to being in a state of helplessness. This type of attack has been on the rise, especially since 2016 Financial Times, U.S. troops, despite having sophisticated weapons, are finding it difficult to defend themselves and find them. These devices fly at very low altitudes and move quickly without much noise. They are at the center of asymmetrical battles, which define conflicts between powerful forces and enemies.
According to the Pentagon, these “Costco drones” are “one of the most important threats to the US military.”
General McKenzie condemns the inadequacy of equipment to deal with these flying bombs. Even worse when they come in droves, as Dash sent 70 devices against Iraqi troops in 2016. And if they sit quietly, it is better not to touch them. Some people get stuck and explode if they try to remove the SIM card.
These devices are also used to prepare attacks by detection. At the end of December 2019, a camera-equipped quad helicopter flew over the helicopter landing area at Kirkuk Airport in Iraq. A few days later, the area came under rocket attack, which landed in very strategic places.
Invest in innovation
To address this threat, the Pentagon has decided to spend $ 636 million on research and development of defense systems. Concerns are mounting as sales of consumer drones around the world continue to rise. By 2026, the market is projected to grow 57% to $ 41 billion, according to a research and market report. The more sales, the more prices fall, making these devices more and more accessible.
In December, during an event in Virginia, startups and large private and public companies unveiled innovations appropriate to this asymmetric war. Fortem Technologies’ Hunter drone detects enemy drones and traps them in the middle. The Pentagon’s research firm, Darba, has developed a drone-catching spray reminiscent of texts used by Spider-Man to capture its enemies.
Henceforth, the stock is global. All conventional forces face this type of attack, which sometimes allows them to win over well-armed troops. These drones, for example, helped Azerbaijan win the 2020 conflict with Armenia.
To deal with it, the Israeli D-Fend developed a plan to acquire it to land safely. The device is now used by Tsahal, but is also used to protect airports, important sites, G7 summits and Pope Francis during open-air massages.
It is good to understand the threat
To counter these attacks, the French soldiers also had to Cilas, a subsidiary of Arianegroup, has developed Helma-P. During this time it was released to the public Security Innovation Forum, An event organized by the DGA and the Defense Innovation Agency of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, where the laser cannon destroys small drones within a kilometer. During one test, he neutralized several in a few seconds.
“In recent years, we have seen the arrival of drone threats for intelligence or ammunition attacks. Due to the diversity and multiplicity of low-cost drones and their increasing autonomy, this threat remains a complex problem to overcome. Intervention is eliminated,” the Armed Forces Ministry explained during Helma-Pi’s presentation.
To better understand these civilian technologies that are being diverted for military purposes, the French military is preparing itself with the same drones and training experts. On Thursday, January 6, the Armed Forces Ministry announced a purchase agreement with the French company Flying Eye for several hundred civilian nano and micro-drones. Among other things, they serve as breasts or targets to enhance the reality of training in detecting and neutralizing malicious systems.
“If we can get the most up-to-date, high-performance drones from the civilian range, we can better understand the threat posed by drones,” explained Herve Grantzine, a spokesman for the Armed Forces Ministry.
This agreement is not a first agreement. In January 2021, the military ordered hundreds of micro-drones from the clerk. French manufacturer Parrot has been selected by the US military to participate in a $ 11 million project to build a new generation of spy vehicles.