IS attempting to manufacture weaponised drones: Report
The Islamic State group is attempting to construct its own weapons-bearing drones, a report by a monitoring organisation revealed for the first time today.
Photo evidence released by the Conflict Armament Research group (CAR) shows the inside of an Islamic State drone workshop in Ramadi, Iraq, where IS was attempting to construct, and possibly weaponise, its own drones.
CAR investigators entered the workshop in Ramadi following IS’s retreat from the city in February, discovering the militant group's efforts to manufacture drones much larger than anything they might have used for surveillance previously.
Photos taken by investigators show wings, a fuselage and a range of electrical components used in avionics that, on completion, would have seen a drone with a wingspan of over 3 metres.
In the same workshop, they also found dissembled surface-to-air missile systems and warheads, suggesting the militant group may be working to build its own bomb-carrying drone.
“The co-discovery of drone construction and attempts to repurpose missile components plausibly suggests attempts by IS forces to develop some form of weaponised drone,” CAR's report reads.
Although IS has reportedly been using commercially available drones for surveillance for several years, the new photo evidence demonstrates the militant group’s intention to build its own weaponised drones from scratch.
“The use of drones by terrorist and insurgent forces is a growing issue of international concern,” executive director of CAR, James Bevan, said, adding that “the capacity to weaponise these remotely operated vehicles would be a significant addition to Islamic State’s growing arsenal of improvised weapons.”
This new information on the Islamic State’s drone building capabilities comes a week after IS killed two Peshmerga fighters and injured two French special operations troops in Erbil, northern Iraq, in a drone attack. This is believed to be the first time an IS manned drone has turned deadly.
The type of drone used in the 2 October attack remains unclear. But a US official speaking on condition of anonymity told ABC News that it supposedly looked very much like the rudimentary, homemade drone described in the CAR report.