In 2014, and again last year, I speculated that terrorists were likely behind some of the incidents of near-misses between aircraft and small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's, also known as drones).
Now comes this news.
A SUSPECTED ISIS jihadi has been arrested in Turkey after allegedly plotting to down a US jet using a drone, police said today.
Turkish cops swooped to detain the Russian national who they say was planning the terror attack against US forces operating out of the Incirlik air base, which is used by Nato forces.
The US Air Force has used the base as a staging post for the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since 2015.
Officers reportedly moved to arrest Renad Bakiev when surveillance showed him to be scouting the area ahead of his planned attack.
During his interrogation, cops said he admitted to surveying the base for the atrocity.
There's more at the link.
I suppose I should be pleased to have been proved prescient in my forecast . . . but I wish I hadn't. I confidently predict that this sort of terrorism will increase in frequency over the next few years. It's terrifyingly easy for terrorists to get their hands on UAV's, which can be bought online or over the counter with no identification at all. ISIS has already fitted some with hand grenades and improvised bombs, using them against infantry and armored vehicles in Iraq and Syria.
It's a simple step from that, to flying them into the path of airliners that can't see them until the very last minute, and probably can't take evasive action without an increased risk of crashing.
This, of course, is one of the reasons why law enforcement authorities want to be able to track drone flights, and register their owners. Bloomberg recently reported:
The Federal Aviation Administration created an advisory panel in June of more than 70 drone industry and user representatives -- including Sugahara -- in a fast-track attempt to develop requirements so battery-powered aircraft can be identified in the sky. They have to finish by Sept. 30 so the FAA can begin crafting regulations.
The pace is being driven by law enforcement agencies, which won’t go along with the agency’s plans to begin allowing more extensive unmanned flights over people and in congested urban areas until they get assurances they can tell the difference between legitimate operators and bad actors, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in an interview.
. . .
While the full requirements haven’t been hammered out yet, the idea is to give a police officer on the ground the identity of a drone’s operator, in the same way a car’s license plate can be traced to its owner. At the same time, it would give the drone’s location, so police or even traditional aircraft could monitor its path.
. . .
The FAA’s ability to monitor drone flights was dealt a blow on May 19, when a U.S federal court invalidated the agency’s registration system for unmanned aircraft. Both the House and Senate have pending legislation that would reinstate a drone registry.
A requirement that drones be tracked would go significantly beyond a registry -- and it’s opened a raft of questions about privacy, who should pay and whether a tracking system would benefit users.
Again, more at the link.
Yet another reason not to fly commercial . . .