So far, global jihadi groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) have limited drone capabilities for use to collect intelligence or as weapons. But this could quickly change, explained Edan Landau, researcher and project manager of the Institute for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel.
Landau told Homeland Security Today that during operation Protective Edge, for example, Hamas deployed two drones over the Mediterranean in the direction of central Israel that were very simple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with pre-programmed coordinates and limited camera capabilities, and small tubes attached to imitate rockets launchers.
Who has them, and what are their capabilities?
“In Israel, we have seen various types of UAVs being used by Hezbollah [from the Northern border] and Hamas [from the southern border]. Hezbollah has been using the UAVs of the Ababil class made in Iran which were used a few times in 2006 during the second Lebanon war, and all of those were shot down by F-16 combat aircraft,” Tal Inbar, head of Space and UAV Research at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya told Homeland Security Today.
Inbar added, though, that in recent years, Hezbollah upgraded its fleet of UAVs and now has possession of the Shahed 129 UAV, an Iranian unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) which is in the same class of America’s Predator in terms of size. It’s also believed it may be able to be equipped with guided air-to-ground missiles. It’s also rumored to have been reverse engineered from a downed US drone.
Read the complete report in the April/May issue of Homeland Security Today.