By Penza News
The examination of the uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) of Syrian terrorists showed that their creation requires special scientific knowledge available to the developers of modern drones. This was announced by Major General Alexander Novikov, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, at the meeting with journalists after a detailed analysis of the drone attack on Russian bases in Syria, which was successfully reflected on the night of January 6.
“Handicraft production of these drones is possible if one has got assembly schemes and necessary components, which had been tested properly. In order to produce these drones, such components as engine, servo units, and electrical batteries could be purchased separately on the open market. However, assembly of these components in the joint system is a complicated engineer task which demands special training, scientific knowledge, and practical experience of producing these aircrafts,” Alexander Novikov said.
According to him, the pre-programmed coordinates used in the UAVs were more accurate than public data that could be obtained, for example, on the Internet.
“Examination shows that radio-electronic equipment installed on the drones, provided for their automated pre-programmed flight and the discharge of ammunition. It also blocked any interference to their control systems,” Alexander Novikov stressed.
He also added that the basic explosive used in the UAVs’ munitions was pentaerythrite tetranitrate (PETN), which is more powerful than hexogen.
“This explosive is produced in several locations, including the Shostka Chemical Reagents Plant in Ukraine,” he said and added that it “cannot be manufactured in an improvised manner nor extracted from other munitions.”
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, it was the first time when terrorists carried out a massed drone attack using modern GPS guidance system — it indicates the emergence of real threat associated with such attacks in any country in the world, which requires appropriate measures to neutralize this possibility.
Commenting on the incident in Syria, Codepink coordinator Nick Mottern said that it was “a test of how effectively Russian anti-drone defenses would respond to a swarm of drones.”
“It seems almost certain that the technology for the drone swarm in question was provided by a nation or nations working on developing drone swarming. This incident confronts us with the reality of an extraordinarily dangerous situation in which relatively low-tech drone attacks with devastating impact, because of swarming, will be launched anonymously by more and more people,” he told PenzaNews.
Obviously as the swarming technology is combat-tested it will be able to guide larger and larger drones and smaller and smaller, he added.
“The UN must meet immediately and call for disarmament of all drones, air, land and sea, and sanctions against any nations found to be transferring any technology that enables the use of lethal drones, including drone swarming technology,” Nick Mottern said.
In his opinion, people must prevent any further motion into an era of remote control killing that will not only take countless lives but accelerate the dissolution of civil societies, as in Yemen and Afghanistan.
“Scientists and engineers developing lethal drone technology must decide whether they will continue this work,” the human rights activist said.
Meanwhile, Anatoly Tsyganok, Director for the Center of Military Forecasting at the Moscow Institute of Political and Military Analysis, Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences, stated that the terrorists had reached a new level.
“Previously, they adhered to the tactics of explosions, then there were terrorist attacks with vehicles: such attacks were committed in Berlin, Nice, London and other cities. Now a new stage has come – drone attacks,” the analyst explained.
He also shared the opinion that the drone swarming technology was tested during the attack in Syria.
“It remains to be seen who has done it, but the likelihood of such attacks in other parts of the world exists. Drones will certainly be used not only in the Middle East, but also in Europe,” Anatoly Tsyganok said.
In addition, he reminded that the Air Code of Russia has already been amended, requiring registration of drones weighing more than 250 grams.
“The issue should also be discussed at the international level. A relevant resolution on the use of drones should be adopted in the UN Security Council,”Anatoly Tsyganok stressed, adding however that many of such international agreements are not respected.
In turn, Wendell Minnick, Senior Asia Correspondent, Shephard Media – Military, suggested that the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles is unstoppable because “these systems are now literally everywhere, including children’s toy stores.”
“The number of companies unveiling new UAVs at airshows like Singapore Airshow and Zhuhai Airshow number in the hundreds. Many are cheap and reliable, capable of carrying bombs into an enemy’s base under stealth and low altitude. Many of the UAVs appear to be flocks of birds on radar, further complicating the ability to shoot them down,” the expert said.
The use of UAVs by terrorists only to increase internationally as the technology continues to be simplified and cheaper to manufacturer, he said.
“Many countries are beginning to sale anti-radiation – anti-drone – weapons that are manpad, i.e. man-portable air-defense systems, or larger tripod mounted systems that are easy to use. However, these systems can often be disappointing in terms of range and the radiation emitted can be dangerous to the user after long term use,” Wendell Minnick explained.
Meanwhile, Anthony Glees, Director, Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS), the University of Buckingham, shared the opinion that drones that can be bought freely may undermine the security situation.
“Even if they are not military grade, these drones are capable of doing serious damage to national well-being,” the analyst said.
The sale of drones should be very strictly regulated and indeed licensed, he said.
“Rather like laser pens, they can cause a major risk to air travel, for example, to conveying clandestinely explosives and drugs and for unlawful surveillance of military installations, nuclear power plants and other key pieces of the critical national infrastructure. We license guns. We should licence drones,” Anthony Glees noted.
He also added that it is necessary to approve regulatory measures at the international level.
“It is vital to have a UN Convention prohibiting the sale of drones without a licence, as along the lines of the one on Landmines, adopted by 150 nations in 1997. Enforcement is another matter, of course, but anything that can be done to limit the damage that illegally obtained drones can wreak, should be done,” the expert concluded.