Tech

When drones become “killer bees”

  Drone attacks used to be the patent of the United States, but recently they have frequently appeared on the battlefields of some small and medium-sized countries, and they can sometimes even influence the war situation.
  | Drones involved in the conflict|
  On September 27, 2020, in the Nagorno-Karabakh (Naka) region, a large-scale armed conflict broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Among them, Azerbaijan frequently uses drones. The day after the exchange of fire between the two countries, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan uploaded a video of drone combat on social networking sites. Most of these videos were captured aerially by surveillance drones. As if looking through the viewfinder of a camera, the footage shows enemy batteries, tanks, and trenches. Immediately afterwards, a missile launched by a drone hit the target, and there were flames and thick smoke. In some videos, some running small shadows can be seen, which means that people in the target range may have sensed that the drone is approaching and are trying to escape before the explosion; some videos show tragic scenes of casualties, but from the screen On the surface, the explosion is like a game, with no sense of reality; there are also scenes in which small drones replace missiles and directly dive and destroy the target in some videos.
  Among these suicide drones, one is the “Satellite-1” drone produced by Israel, also known as the “Kamikaze drone”, which can rush into enemy targets and detonate automatically. According to the Israeli manufacturer “Aviation Technology”, the drone’s wings are 2.9 meters long, weighs 13 kilograms, and has a flight time of 2.5 hours. In the video released by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, the video and images of the small UAV rushing towards the target were also taken by this type of aircraft autonomously.
  According to data from the Harvard University Research Center in the United States, Azerbaijan purchased at least eight types of drones produced by Israel in 2008, with a total of 160 drones. Some attack drones such as “Kamikaze” were produced by Azerbaijan.
  Although Armenia introduced drones produced by Russia and other countries, perhaps because it was clearly at a disadvantage in drone battles, Armenia had to reach a ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan on the condition of abandoning the occupied area on a large scale on November 10 of that year. At the end of October 2020, Azerbaijani President Aliyev said in an interview with local media that modern warfare is different from the 1990s, and drones have become an important combat force of the Azerbaijani army.
  | Drones on the battlefield in Africa and the Middle East|
  Attack drones have also recently made an appearance in conflicts in Africa. On November 4, 2020, armed conflicts broke out between Ethiopian government forces and the local political party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in the northern Tigray region. At the time, the chief of the Ethiopian air force said on state television that the country’s drone force had been deployed in the battle. Earlier, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front claimed that the UAE reinforced the Ethiopian government forces, and they used drones to raid across the border from neighboring Eritrea.

  The Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s rhetoric is not without merit. It is reported that the United Arab Emirates, which has been involved in the conflict in Yemen in recent years, has used the Eritrean airport across the Red Sea as a take-off and landing base for drones in order to combat the Yemeni Shia rebels. In contrast, Shiite groups are also suspected of having obtained drones from Iran to attack Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Similarly, in the Libyan civil war in the Middle East, the interim government based in the west also used drones made in Turkey to reverse the situation of being suppressed by the Libyan National Army attacking from the east. The two sides have carried out nearly a thousand drone bombings. Salam, the former UN special representative on Libya, said: “This may be the largest drone war in the world.” In the Middle East, drones have gradually become a natural weapon.
  The United States is the first country to officially use drones as a means of attack. After the “September 11” incident in 2001, in the anti-terrorism war around Afghanistan, the United States used drones to destroy the strongholds of the “Al Qaeda” organization and the Taliban anti-government forces, and completed precise air strikes against the “Al Qaeda” leader.
  Countries such as Israel, Iran, and Turkey, which are well aware of the power of drones, have continuously developed military drones and sold them to small and medium-sized countries. Attack drones are much cheaper than fighter jets, so many countries and organizations have a considerable number of attack drones. According to a survey by Bard College in the United States, there are currently more than 100 countries in the world that have attack drones.

  | Radicals and armed forces also use drones | It
  is not only the country that is attracted by the “charm” of drones, but also radical organizations and anti-government armed forces that have been regarded as targets of drone attacks. On November 1, 2020, a sudden explosion occurred at the governor’s residence of Kunduz Province in northern Afghanistan, killing several soldiers who were playing ball. The US “New York Times” stated that the explosion was the first attack by the Taliban using drones.
  The militant group “Islamic State,” which occupies parts of Iran and Syria, has been using civilian small drones to carry out explosive attacks since October 2016. In July 2018, the commander of the US military stationed in Iran made a summary and detailed report on the development of the “Islamic State” drone at the Anti-Terrorism Center of the US Military Academy at West Point to illustrate the seriousness of the situation. He said: “One day in early 2017, 70 drones were confirmed within 24 hours, which led to the interruption of operations. Sometimes 12 ‘Killer Bee’ drones appeared in the sky at the same time. Although we have the air supremacy, we can only fight back from the ground with submachine guns. “The drones used by ISIS are ordinary civilian drones capable of dropping objects from the air, but what they carry are improvised bomb devices, and these drones are too small to shoot them down.”

  Due to sweeping operations carried out by the US military and others, the positions of the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria were captured in 2017 and 2019 respectively, and their combat effectiveness was rapidly lost as a result. But the above-mentioned report said that other terrorist groups may also adopt the same tactics.
  In fact, terrorist attacks on mass gatherings are becoming a real threat. It is reported that in the 2018 World Cup held in Russia, the Russian authorities equipped radio jamming devices and missiles to prevent drone attacks. In order to successfully host the Tokyo Olympics, Japan revised the “UAV Control Law” in 2019 to prohibit drones from flying around the stadium.

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