Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Weaponized "hobbyist" drones - what did I tell you?


On several occasions I've warned about weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles of the sort used by hobbyists, for example in this article.  A number of readers expressed skepticism, claiming that the payload of such drones was simply too small to be useful.  Unfortunately, terrorists and criminals continue to ignore such criticism.  Drones are now a real and present danger.

The first terror groups to use drone technology as a platform for IEDs originated in the Middle East. The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was the most prominent of these, even using “drone swarms” to attack military and civilian targets.

ISIS’s black-market UAVs are still the most technologically advanced in the world. Most are fixed-wing units with a range of more than 60 miles. And unlike the simpler, self-destructing IED models used in the Caracas incident, the ISIS drones can drop grenades on their targets and then return to the pilot to be loaded up again and re-used.

ISIS might still be ahead of the curve, but groups using illicit armed drones in the Americas are catching up fast.

In November of 2017, The Daily Beast broke the story of the first illegally weaponized drone found in Mexico. It was a relatively primitive version that sported a homemade shrapnel bomb and was found in the back of a vehicle belonging to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), in the state of Guanajuato.

Then, about a month ago, evidence surfaced that CJNG had already advanced their drone designs considerably.

On July 10, the house of a Mexican public safety officer was targeted in a drone attack in Tecate, Baja California—a border city in the larger Tijuana-San Diego municipality that falls within CJNG’s established territory.

According to a new report co-authored by Dr. Robert Bunker, of the U.S. Army War College, the Tecate drone managed to drop its payload ISIS-style on the officer’s residence. Although the attack was apparently meant as a warning—since the grenades still had their safety pins intact—it also showed a clear step up in cartel-drone enhancement, including a second unmanned aircraft that conducted reconnaissance on site.

“Of the two drones, the Tecate one has far better lethality than the one in Guanajuato—we are comparing military grade grenades versus an IED,” Bunker told The Daily Beast.

“This is still an evolving global threat,” Bunker said. “The next firebreak, now that earlier ones have recently been broken in Mexico and Venezuela... would be weaponized drone incidents taking place in either Western Europe or in the United States. You can’t get much closer to the U.S. than Tecate, Mexico for an incident like this.”

Michel agreed with Bunker about the international risk posed by evolving drone technology.

“We're definitely going to see more attacks of this kind, be they assassination attempts against a specific leader or indiscriminate terrorist attacks,” Michel said. “Part of the appeal of drones for terrorists groups is that they make great cable news fodder. Showing that you have weaponized drones is an excellent way to draw attention to your organization and to incite fear.”

There's more at the link.  A tip o' the hat to Cdr Salamander for spotting it first.

Drones are also being used as transports by drug cartels in Mexico, flying narcotics across the US border with Mexico, with little fear of interception.  One recent report spoke of thirteen "drug drones" being detected in just four days - and that's only the ones that were detected.  There were probably more.  A UAV is an almost perfect vehicle for smuggling drugs, as it can be flown (either autonomously, or under an operator's control) to a specific location, where waiting recipients can offload its cargo and send it back for more.

It's obvious where Mexican cartels are getting their inspiration.  Hezbollah has "weaponized" hobbyist drones in the Middle East for some time - and the organization has been active in Mexico as well, as this 2011 report demonstrates.  In 2015, US Homeland Security claimed that Hezbollah was actively collaborating with cartels.  My biggest worry is that Hezbollah may already have smuggled some of its terrorists into the USA, where they can buy hobbyist drones off-the-shelf at very low prices, weaponize them, and use them in terror attacks.  I suggested earlier that some of the near-misses between drones and commercial airliners at major US airports might have been terrorists attempting to engineer a collision.  I've heard or seen nothing to put my mind at rest about that.  While an unarmed lightweight drone might not be enough to bring down an airliner, one carrying an explosive charge such as a hand grenade might be an entirely different kettle of fish.

I think we've only just begun to see this threat in action.  I think it's going to get a lot worse over the next few years.

Peter

31 comments:

Larry said...

As I said earlier, payloads are too small to be very dangerous, but they might get lucky. However, as I also said, better capabilities are getting cheaper every year and it is gradually becoming a threat.

Theother Ryan said...

I disagree with your assessment. ISIS has been dropping locally manufactured grenades from them. They have caused significant problems for Iraqi forces.

Glen Filthie said...

LOL.

You’ll definitely see more fake journalists using the topic as click bait, and you’ll see timid old men in Velcro shoes falling for it and
giving the toys the edge against battle hardened marines and armoured troops. Then they’ll cackle like old hens and scare themselves silly.

I’m building a long range ground station right now that should get an electric styrofoam drone plane out to about 21 km in good conditions. Just think of the mayhem and damage I can do! I could do a kamikaze dive on some nattering old stubfart and bunt him in the head with it or something.

Gaze upon my works and tremble! ;)

Aesop said...

Right, Glen.

We can believe you, or our lying eyes.

You have rightfully earned the Baghdad Bob Award for drone attacks.

Well-played.

The point isn't drones being used against "battle-hardened Marines and armored troops".

It's about them dropping drug bundles miles from border surveillance, flying a pound or three of C-4 or Semtex onto someone's house or car, or taking out one of the two engines of some fully laden and fueled jetliner on takeoff and splattering a decidedly unarmored aircraft full of passengers all over a suburban neighborhood.

To quote a famous movie, "You're not going to believe this until it swims up and bites you in the..."

Seriously, man. You were wrong then, and you're wrong now, and all of human history points to the fact that anything can be weaponized, and will be, in about five minutes. (Good heavens, there are entire Army field manuals dedicated to this exact concept, and they date back 60 years and more.) Pack your misinformed skepticism away, because it's been overtaken by events, and continuing to maintain the façade and double down at this point only moves your arguments from mistaken, to delusional.

You threw down your marker, and the dice came up snake eyes.
Tough break.

Cut your losses and walk away from the table.

You guessed wrong.
Put some ice on that, and learn a lesson.

Bob said...

The payload of a single drone may not be big enough to do much damage.

But imagine that a drone can carry two pounds of anything, like oh, rebar.

Then imagine ten or fifteen people all flying drones carrying two pounds of rebar all flying on the takeoff or approach path for a major airport, and flying those drones into the path of an airliner. I wonder what rebar would do to a turbine?

NITZAKHON said...

I can think of far, far worse payloads. I won't name them, but...

Stan_qaz said...

Around 10 pounds of explosive can do a lot of damage and several quad copter drones on this list can manage that.

https://www.dronethusiast.com/heavy-lift-drones/#Heavy%20Lift%20Quadcopter%20Reviews

Bibliotheca Servare said...

A single fragmentation grenade, detonated in close proximity to (or *inside of*) a commercial airliner's turbofan (fanjet, if you prefer) will unquestionably transform that turbofan into a useless hunk of (expensive) components. Whether it would also cause the fuel in the wing to ignite isn't necessarily a certainty, depending on the variables. If it did...well, the consequences would be unpleasant.

Either way, if one drone can drop a grenade accurately (or fly itself in) into or in front of *one* turbofan, multiple drones could do the same to *multiple* engines. Yes, I'd say this is something to be concerned about. *shudders*

And the cartels are using them...what a truly unpleasant bit of information. Shoot...

Glen Filthie said...

You need to take a pill Aesop. And maybe read a few elementary physics books. If you can manage that, build and fly a few basic FPV drones as I have. And maybe stop mixing booze with your Metamucil.

LOL.

You guys are old women - hobby machines? Flying rebar down the gullets of moving jet engines? It has to be true! You read it on the internet! And to think that guys like Tom Clancy stayed awake at night, and spent countless hours researching the relevant topics to predicate his thrillers on... and you guys are scared spitless of hobby RC drones! It’s exactly like listening to Democrats talking about evil AR15’s with “that deadly shoulder-thing that goes up”. HAR HAR HAR!

It’s a pant load, of course. The journalists write this crap for idiots. What this tells a man with a triple digit IQ is that the journalistic integrity of the Daily Beast is right up there with the New York Times

Aesop said...

Glen, you're taking this way too personal.
You were wrong. It happens.
Events over and over have already shown that your delusions don't accord with reality.

Walk away.
It's just a strikeout, man.
Shake it off, and better luck next time.
Nobody stands there at the plate waiting for Strike Four and Five.
Except, at this point, you.
This is only the end of the world if you're convinced of your own papal infallibility on the topic. Which is already demonstrably full of more holes than a truckload of Swiss cheese.
At a certain point, you're making anyone who dismantles your arguments look like the guy tripping blind people and kicking kids at the Special Olympics.

Nobody wants to be that guy.

And the only person panicking at this news is you.
Put a bib on, before you slip on the drool and hurt yourself.
Everyone else is just putting this update into their mental file of "things that could possibly go pear-shaped". That's called common sense.
No one's mounting twin Bofors guns to their roof, nor manning 24/7/365 microwave radar dronewatch patrol in the garage-cum-mini-NORAD bunker, AFAIK.

And remember, we read your malarkey "on the internet."
And a triple digit IQ?
That's 100, last I looked. (It may be different for those who graduated under Common Core.)
Hate to break it to you man, but the layman's term for that is absolute C-level average.
You could look it up.

When you score a three deviations above-the-mean IQ, give a holler. I'll downshift, and meet you in the middle.

What this tells me is that someone this invested in delusion has the same credibility as the Leftard media. Just...why?

BRM isn't writing this stuff for idiots; neither is CDR Salamander, nor am I. So all that leaves is who you are writing for...?

A brighter man would have just let this post pass by without commenting, learned a lesson, and chalked it up to experience.

Heck, anyone can be wrong. Up until about 3 PM one November afternoon just a couple of years ago, I was afraid the president would be serial-felon Shrillary. But I was wrong.

You're running out of toes on this topic, man.

I'm asking please: Stop shooting already.

Old NFO said...

This was inevitable. Sigh...

Beans said...

There has already been a major problem of people using drones to deliver drugs, cell phones and other contraband into prisons and jails.

It's not that far off to add weapons.

As to the limited range, so what? Most fighting in an urban environment is measured in 10s to 100s of feet. Where 5 minute duration is perfectly fine, heck, excessive, really, especially using a drone or rc aircraft as a one-way missile.

How far does 5 minutes at 50mph get a drone? Far enough to fly across any airfield/airport from a launch point not on airport property. Far enough to fly over most college campuses from a launch point not on the college, plus, who would notice a drone flying on a college campus? Definitely far enough to fly over and around any college stadium from a point outside of the stadium.

Same with any open venue, or city hall, or courthouse, police station, utility station, power station, water treatment plant (that right there is a nightmare, as WTPs have 'dead zones' around them (the area one will die if there is a chemical release from the plant.))

COTS (commercial off the shelf) systems are here to stay, and every day get more powerful, longer ranged, and cheaper. Who needs to manufacture special weapon drones when you can buy your own.

Just like, well, having to put large concrete planters around critical infrastructure to stop vehicle attacks (either with or without an accompanying bomb - witness the Nice, France truck attack,) we now have to fear death from the sky. I see a sudden increase in inside or covered venues being created or utilized for what used-to-be outside events and rallies.

Beans said...

And, since I forgot to mention, as with prison-drop drones, it's all about the value of the payload AND the value of the target, that is what makes hobby-class drones potentially deadly.

HMS Defiant said...

I read about this in "The Moon Goddess and the Son back in 1986 and I've been predicting it at my place for about 6 years. The copter drones are just toys and yet they can still kill people in the open as described above but the real problem is that it doesn't really take an aeronautics PhD to build rocket drones from COTS materials, stuff in a GPS guidance system and aim that at targets 20 miles away.
I suspect we'll see C-RAM shooting them down over cities in America in my lifetime. We've been using them in the sandbox for about 10 years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4PXou0aGiE

BTW, 9/11 was basically the employment of expendable drones against targets of value.

Glen Filthie said...

Hey Aesop: what’s the difference between a GHz and a KHz?

The GHz hurts more than a KHz! HAR HAR HAR!

For those of you that wish to inform yourselves rather than gobble in fright like a Democrat talking about guns - I will be building a long range hobby drone set up shortly on my own blog. Once completed I will no doubt have a weapon of unimaginable destructive power, and Aesop will have to dress in women’s clothing to avoid being taken out by my horrible robotic weaponry. Feel free to stop by and crap in the comments if your so inclined. The build will start in a couple of weeks when the parts come in. Sheesh - the extents I go to calming you frightful old hens would try a saint!

Pete - wake me up if something meaningful happens on the weaponized hobby drone front. The rest of you behave yourselves - or i’ll Give ya the same treatment Aesop’s gonna get. ;)

Vakkotaur said...

What's *possible* now does involve a fair amount of 'getting lucky' but that even a lucky shot is at all possible TODAY, means that we need to be concerned (not panicked, but concerned) about tomorrow. Drone prices drop, computational abilities go up... and with experience and creativity... well, right now I wouldn't use THIS as a reason to avoid commercial aviation (there are plenty others, not related). In a few years? I'd have to think it over. I do wonder how long before some borders "just happen" to be scanned by some interestingly high-powered radars or such.

Larry said...

Exactly.

Aesop said...

Thanks for your insight Glen. You're absolutely a legend in your own mind. But the articles weren't about what you can do or not.
The bar for the frontiers of flight is a bit higher than that in the real world.

And nothing anyone other than you wrote, here or in any of the linked articles or responses had anything to do with fear in the slightest. You're answering a dog whistle only you can hear on that topic, and I'm not a psychologist to explore why that might be so. But then, no one else seems to be burdened with measuring their appendages online either. Just a suggestion, from common sense rather than personal experience, but I suspect if you stopped slamming it in the desk drawer, it'll grow back faster.

But I'm glad to know that the package delivery technology Amazon demonstrated IRL in 2016, and was talking about all the way back in 2012, with a payload capacity of 5 pounds and a BLOS range of 10 miles, which already works, is completely impossible according to you, using technology that doesn't exist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Prime_Air
I guess the YouTube videos were faked too, huh?

Perhaps you can call Jeff Bezos, and straighten out him and his $178B/yr company, and maybe he'll slip you a fin for your expertise.
They'll doubtless be glad to know they've wasted 6 years and millions of dollars of development costs on something they would have known was unpossible, if only they'd hired you as a drone consultant.

Maybe you could save bandwidth in the future, and just abbreviate all your expertise on this topic by simply typing "That's unpossible!." I, for one, would happily agree to leave your assertion unchallenged, as you would be expressing in shorthand The Last Word from The World's Foremost Authority.

"The problem with some people isn't what they know, it's what they "know" that just isn't true!" - Ronald Reagan

Larry said...

Nuisance attacks not equal to significant problems. Dropping 155 mm shells precisely would a "significant problem."

Daniel Barger said...

When hobby drones start becoming tools for crime an terror in the USA the idiots in power will do what they ALWAYS do. Make than illegal.....for HONEST people. And of course criminals and terrorists will ignore the laws and continue utilizing them. When the laws they pass do nothing they all pass more.....and we will see the same insanity we see with "gun control" applied to drones.....and any other "thing" missed for evil purposes.

Glen Filthie said...

Well aren't you just the toughest old man in the food court, Aesop? LOL!

We can agree that we are not pushing the boundaries of flight here. You and your old hens are saying that HOBBY drones and aircrafts are capable of doing these awful things - so by extension that would mean guys like me could do it too. As a hobbyist, I am telling you that you're full of beans and I can prove it - and I've done so once already. If you don't want the big dogs eating your lunch, stop blowing the whistle.

We hobbyists work in materials like balsa wood, plastics, and Styrofoam. Materials like that don't lend themselves to terrorism except to maybe old women and stupid people. No, you are not going to carry heavy ordnance with materials like that. And no, hobby drones and related equipment will not be striking targets 60 km away - and I will prove that in short order too! Spoiler - the hobby stuff can get out to maybe 20 km - and there are limitations on that as well.


Furthermore - I've worked closely with the guys that designed the technologies and in some cases - invented it. Those are the kind of guys that MIGHT be able to weaponize a real attack drone from scratch - but you can bet they won't be using materials and electronics from your local hobby shop, and they won't be doing it at a price point that Abu-Al Fuknuk-al of ISIS will be able to pay. He'll get the real stuff from the Russians and Chinese as he's always done for high priority targets, and stick to the simple stuff with everything else.

Will said...

The problem I have with this discussion and earlier ones is the label of "hobby drone". To me, and I would expect most others, that implies one of those bitty 4 motor copters about two hands spread in size at most, that is capable of lifting a miniature camera and nothing else.

What you seem to be talking about is what I have heard called a commercial drone. The one I saw had a full size crew cab pickup as a support base. The pilot could fit it into the rear seat area with some care, if he was going into a restaurant, but it normally lived in the truck bed. This was used to survey building sites for a construction company. This size copter requires an aircraft pilots license to operate legally in the US. This thing ran near $20k, IIRC. I don't know if that price included the survey equipment package that it toted around.

Labeling all these attack drones as a "hobby" item seems to be counterproductive. If this is what the media typically uses, than I would guess they have an agenda they are pushing. Why play their game?

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

I don't count custom-built high-end prototypes as off-the-shelf consumer hobbyist drones. I don't count currently available drones with price tags of 10-20k dollars and up as consumer hobbyist drones, either. Maybe in your income bracket, it is?

Peter said...

I'm afraid all the naysayers are far too late and several dollars short. Hobbyist quadcopter UAV's have already - I say again, ALREADY - been converted to carry explosive payloads or drop grenades. I've cited this news report in a previous article:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4214321/russian-isis-fanatic-arrest-turkey-drone-plane-crash/

It has a picture of a hobbyist quadcopter drone adapted to drop grenades from a cup-like device. Other grenade-carrying drones have destroyed Ukrainian arms depots. This is no longer theoretical. It's been entirely practical for the past five years or thereabouts. Larger, more powerful drones can do even more.

It's no good protesting this is not possible with hobbyist drones. IT IS ALREADY A REALITY.

Theother Ryan said...

I should have prefaced my original comment by saying “I am an Army officer who, within the scope of his duties, analyses and works with information most people don’t see that specifically relates to this conversation.”

I’m not going to go into further detail but I suggest you do some research and reconsider your current position on the issue.

Glen Filthie said...

I read your article Pete.

a. the guy in the article was arrested for spying on the airbase. He didn't actually drop any ordnance - and you obviously missed the point where he was easily captured and taken into custody.

b. the article shows a DJI Phantom (last I heard they were around $2500.00) and has an embedded video of a drone attack on a military jeep - with a bomb that looked like it would easily weigh in around 20 or 30 pounds. No, a DJI Phantom will not be dropping bombs that size.


c. I gave up on it after that. I'd sooner get lectured by David Hogg about evil AR15's than listen to hysterical media soyboys and clucky hens screeching about the danger of toys.

Pete, I think I am going to assume that you are just a silly old fart having some sport and good natured fun at the expense of another. Otherwise I will have assume you have a credibility problem - and that would be a problem indeed for a fella that is supposedly a former pastor and squaddie.

Aesop said...

Glen, numbers aren't your strong point, so you might want to sharpen you pencil.

A DJI Phantom 4 goes for US$809, not $2500.
Unless you were referring to Zimbabwean dollars or something.
Don't they have links to Amazon on your planet?
https://www.amazon.com/DJI-Quadcopter-Aircraft-DigitalAndMore-Microfiber/dp/B06WGMJ52G/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1538671353&sr=8-7&keywords=DJI+Phantom


10 miles, the target range for the Amazon delivery drones, is 16km, not the 60 km you pulled out of heaven knows what orifice.

So when your math is routinely off by 3x-4x, maybe we've cracked the case on why you can't do what goatherding terrorists can do, and already have.

The same DJI4 has an absolute range of 36km (20m/s x 28:00" endurance)
and can be operated manually at a max range under ideal conditions of 3+ mi, with FCC-complaint hardware. If Achmed jacks his output, or uses GPS-controlled targeting, the limit is as far as the batteries last.

They can be operated (illegally per the FAA regs, but well within performance specs) at altitudes in excess of 19K'.

https://www.dji.com/phantom-4/info

The idea (from elsewhere than you) that that's a "nuisance" level, is from someone who's never thought of what a "nuisance" it would be if a dozen of them all dropped an issue 1# M67 frag apiece onto the platform at the next presidential inauguration. Or beer bottles of homebrew napalm with a lit wick. Both payloads are within its abilities.

If dropped from 120m AGL, the grenades would detonate just about exactly on impact, and put every nuclear power at Defcon 3 in about 60 seconds.

That's some nuisance.

The firebombs could be dropped from substantially higher, with full effect.

If the target were a pro baseball or football stadium for a major game, they only have to hit to an accuracy of minute of grandstand.

If the payload instead were a soda can with a homebrew thermite bomb, they could be landed on the fuel-laden wing of a parked jetlinter, a refinery fuel tank, or an LNG tank, and shut down an airport, cripple a major refinery, or knock out 25 mi² of harbor in about a minute.

That's hobby drones, with hobby payloads. Nobody's talking 95# howitzer shells, or 250-500# aerial bombs.

And in case there's some bare chance sopmething finds a crack in your reality deflector shields, nobody's screaming like headless chickens to run for you lives. Just pointing out with tedious ease how exactly humdrum possible any or all such attacks are, by multiple drones, and still for less than the price of a beater used car on Craigslist.

You can keep doing gymnastics to ignore that reality, or keep trying to drag in elephants and claim they're not hobby drones, but hobby drones are all that's required to unleash biblical chaos on an open society, in about 5 minutes.

No one's asking for any fear of that reality, just the bare minimum of sense god gave a mule to recognize that reality, and start thinking of ways to prevent it happening.

Your role in this discussion, to date, is to be the modern equivalent of the guy who assured Husband Kimmel that Japanese torpedoes could never function against ships at anchor in Pearl Harbor.

Glen Filthie said...

My role in this discussion is that of the bemused old fart, watching certain other elderly men (who should know better) frightening themselves over something incredibly stupid. But in spite of yourself you have made some salient points.

-From the DJI site, the Phantom 4 is around 1200~1400 bucks. I stand corrected, but will point out that you aren't that great with numbers either, Spanky.

-Amazon delivery drones: ask yourself why they don't use them. Yeah, I know, right?

- the 60 km figure came from Pete's source. I called BS on that already, because I actually read what he posted - and you obviously did not.

- the performance figures you cite are under optimum conditions. Put a payload on it, and assume the thing can lift off at all - you can cut them by anywhere within 60~90 %. More if there are headwinds. More still if there are obstacles obscuring your radio and video signals. Funny how your comic book thriller falls apart in the real world, inninit?


- you flap about payload. Cite a spec, Aesop. You won't because these drones DON'T HAVE A PAYLOAD. They don't have a payload because they weren't designed to fly with one.


- I will assume you are about as informed about explosives and ordnance as you are about drones so I won't get into projected body counts and collateral damage estimates with a guy that has numeracy problems. Let me instead point out another far more likely scenario involving terrorists and innocents out at the ball game: the terrorist comes in to the stadium to kill evil American pig-dogs. He doesn't need a drone, moron, all he needs is a day pack. Or a baby bag. Fill it with explosives, leave it on a seat, and walk away. If he really wants to put the boots to Uncle Sam, a car bomb in the parking lot will work far better than drones.


It's like you guys have been brainwashed on drones the same way the Donks have been on guns, Christians, and Marxism. I have an interesting theory on that, and I'll post it on my own blog.


The last word is yours Aesop. Unfortunately I now have to question Pete's integrity and your intelligence - and I am not liking what I see. It's best to just park this one right here and leave it at that.

Aesop said...

Your masochism knows no bounds.
My role in this discussion is that of the bemused old fart
, watching certain other elderly men (who should know better) frightening themselves over something incredibly stupid.


A fart is a bolus of sour gas than mainly annoys. We agree on more than you think. But you're still barking at the dog whistle of "fear", to which thus far no one other than you has succumbed.

-From the DJI site, the Phantom 4 is around 1200~1400 bucks. I stand corrected, but will point out that you aren't that great with numbers either, Spanky.
Give a holler when you can point to anything I misstate by a factor of 200-300%. I'll wait.

-Amazon delivery drones: ask yourself why they don't use them. Yeah, I know, right?
They don't use them because they don't have FAA approval. That news is 5 months old. Try and catch up.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-left-off-governments-first-list-of-companies-approved-for-drone-package-delivery-2018-05-09
But of course, we all know terrorists pay scrupulous attention to government regs, so that should keep them from doing anything too, right?

- the 60 km figure came from Pete's source. I called BS on that already, because I actually read what he posted - and you obviously did not.
I see. So in response to what I wrote, you elected to compare apples to oranges. Well-played.

- the performance figures you cite are under optimum conditions. Put a payload on it, and assume the thing can lift off at all - you can cut them by anywhere within 60~90 %. More if there are headwinds. More still if there are obstacles obscuring your radio and video signals. Funny how your comic book thriller falls apart in the real world, inninit?
Well, if you're going to whistle up hypothetical hurricanes to make your point, let's grant it. Because heaven knows, why would a terrorist ever try something under optimal conditions, when he could instead try them under horrendously adverse conditions, just to prove you right? This is why all attacks are in blizzards, uphill, at night. - said no general ever.

But take you're SWAG 90% figure. So now a DJI4 will only reach an altitude of 2000', travel 3.6km, and be controllable from 1/4 mile away, because Magic, even giving you the 90% degradation number. I'm waiting for your point to render them useless. So that would be a fail for you. Would you care to SWAG 95%? 99%? Or is that still too low?
But seriously, you expect some budding bombardier to be so stupid as to try and fly one upwind instead of downwind, and you want us to let you pull a hurricane and a retarded kid out of your...pocket, to try and bootstrap your contention that somebody's selling drones by the truckload for under a grand that don't fly?
Pull the other one; it's got bells on it.
(cont.)

Aesop said...

Here's a YouTube video from later responses to CDR Salamander's blogpost, showing a homebuilt low-tech and cheap UAV with about a 2.5# payload, taking off and flying just fine, despite claims that it's "Unpossible!"

https://youtu.be/le7xMiWahEo

So instead of 3 cans full of soda pop, how about a 1# block of C-4, a pound of ball bearings and nails, and a blasting cap?

Oh, wait, C-4 is too hard for terrorists to get?

How about a soda can with 1# of iron oxide, 1# of aluminum powder, a magnesium ribbon, and a model rocket engine ignition system?
That's mail order and five minutes at Hobby Lobby.
Still too hard?

Or a glass bottle filled with homebrew napalm (gasoline and dish soap), and a shotgun shell and roadflare impact igniter?
I can get all that at Wal-Mart for about $20, 24/7/365.

You know, real 1920's technology right there.

Of course, we all know a flying claymore mine or thermite bomb or napalm bottle (or twenty of them) would cause no problems at the World Series, Superbowl (or any other bowl game), a presidential inauguration, or over the Rose Parade grandstands on Colorado Blvd. on New Year's morning or Times Square on New Year's eve, because physics isn't physics, and no one would notice bombs going off and people being slain by the dozens or hundreds on live worldwide TV, or running around on fire.

And someone dropping thermite bombs on refinery tanks or an LNG terminal wouldn't be any big deal.

And no one would ever target, say, tanker trucks loaded with fuel or hazmat chemicals in rush hour traffic. Or railcars with similar payloads sitting loaded and idle in downtown metro railyards.

Or supertankers sitting offshore and unloading.

And what happens when some nutjob flies one into Marine One as it lifts off of the White House lawn? (Besides some terrorist electing President Pence in about a minute, I mean.)

You can believe our resident aeronautical engineer, or your lying eyes. And maybe somebody needs to start watching YouTube to pick up tips on making drones with more robust payload capacities.

The actual capabilities are real, not imaginary.
And anyone serious, with two brain cells, is taking this seriously.
Starting with the guys who'd like to do all that.