Pentagon Now Faced With New ISIS Threat, Drones That Are Explosive

A drone, recently shot down by Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State in the northern part of Iraq, was the size of a model airplane and believed to be like the numerous drones that the terrorist group had been flying as an attempt to regain the territory. The Kurdish forces transported it back to the outpost to examine it. However, unlike others found, this particular drone blew up and killed two Kurdish fighters and it is believed to be the first successful attempt by the Islamic State to use a drone with explosives that killed troops on the battlefield,

This past month, ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has attempted to use small drones to launch attacks on two other occasions, which has motivated American commanders to assume that any small flying air device has explosives attached and to issue a warning on the matter.

The New York Times relays what ISIS’ advancements in technological regarding drones, means for Iraqi troops and the U.S.

“The Islamic State has used surveillance drones on the battlefield for some time, but the attacks — all targeting Iraqi troops — have highlighted its success in adapting readily accessible technology into a potentially effective new weapon. American advisers say drones could be deployed against coalition forces by the terrorist group in the battle in Mosul. For some American military analysts and drone experts, the episodes confirmed their view that the Pentagon — which is still struggling to come up with ways to bring down drones — was slow to anticipate that militants would turn drones into weapons.”

The Pentagon has reportedly been dedicating resources to halting the drones, however, Iraqi troops and Kurdish units have not been given the devices that American troops have access to which allows the drones to be disarmed, military officials state. Officials shared that they have called on the Pentagon agency in charge of dealing with such explosive devices, to determine ways to eliminate the threat of the hostile drones. The agency is known as the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization. In the summer, the Pentagon addressed Congress and requested an additional $20 million to address this new threat.

A specialist on robotic weaponry at New American, P.W. Singer admitted that such a threat is one that should have been anticipated. “We should have been ready for this, and we weren’t,” he said, as The New York Times shares.

Also in recent months, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency completed classified documentation and assessments about the drone use by the Islamic State. Eric Fanning, the secretary of the Army, assigned individuals with the specific task to determine how to best respond to the drones and their emerging threats.


ISIS is reportedly using much simpler drones than the United States, who use drones which can be as large as a small passenger plane and need a runway for take off and landing. ISIS purchases their simple drones from Amazon and the crafts are much smaller that then have explosive devices attached to them and are therefore “remotely piloted bombs.”

Although there were three known drone attacks in Iraq, it was only the one that involved the Kurdish troops which caused deaths. A senior American official who had been given a detailed report about the drone attack, spoke about the drone’s characteristics.

“This is an enemy that learns as it goes along. The explosive device inside was disguised as a battery — there was a very small amount of explosives in it, but it was enough to go off and kill them.”

In another drone-related attack by ISIS, just last week the group used a drone that was strapped with an explosive to attack a checkpoint. It did not kill anyone, but it did destroy buildings. On October 1, Iraqi troops reportedly shot down a drone only 1 foot long and 1 foot wide that had an explosive attached to its top.

[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]