In a video featured by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), a proclaimed ISIS drone dropped a bomb into a Syrian ammunition dump to trigger a series of larger explosions. The original footage was released from an ISIS linked news outlet called Amaq News Agency. There has yet to be confirmation of what kind of drone it was, but judging by the video, it was a modified consumer quadcopter. This isn’t the first time everyday drones were misused in wars, but it is one of the latest drone footage released showing multiple bombs being dangled and dropped from the perspective of a drone.
What Kind of Drone Did ISIS Use?
The drone’s precise flight and jerky camera movements are similar to the flight patterns of an everyday consumer drone. Judging how the camera was in a fixed position, the ISIS drone in the video was a quadcopter. Unlike fixed-wing drones, quadcopters can hover in place, which was what the drone did in the video. At 10 seconds into the video, the footage changed angles and showed the bomb’s aftermath. The drone’s camera swayed left and right and its gimbal even tilted the camera downwards, which is a dead giveaway of a drone shot.
Modified ISIS Drone Drop System
The drone could be a quadcopter rigged with a modified drop system, which is commonly used for drone fishing to release bait into precise locations. Consumer drones like the DJI Phantom 3 Professional have a payload capacity of about two pounds, according to a test video by YouTuber Nick Murray, so the bomb that was dropped must have been lightweight. It didn’t take much to ignite the ammunition dump, especially when everything was dangerously stockpiled next to each other. Similar to a match setting off a forest fire, the small drone bomb caused a huge explosion.
Consumer drones are fairly cheap and easy to modify, so they are being used in wars all over the world. In the Philippines, both the Army and the terrorist have used DJI drones to spy on each other; it’s a low cost solution for gaining an aerial advantage. Drone companies like DJI only make drones for civilian use, but hacked and modified drones are still making their way into the battlefield.
Drones are tools that are best used for their intended purposes, but just like anything, they can be weaponized. The video shown on ABC featured a worst case scenario for rogue consumer drones; this is the reason why anti-drone technology is a necessity for the future growth of the drone industry.