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ISIS Airpower: Drone Bombers
Since 2014, ISIS has been employing remote controlled drones to harass and create havoc on the Iraqi soldiers. Back then, these were little more than remote control airplanes of the toy variety armed with a grenade to drop on the target or detonate on impact. Today, the Iraqis are facing a more sophisticated drone along the lines of the hover variety with four propellers. While they are still armed with a single grenade, it signals that as the Iraqis clear and retake western Mosul, ISIS fighters are becoming more desperate.
This desperation dates back to WW2, when Hitler used the remote controlled wire guided Goliath mini tractor. Only a few feet in size, the device was nothing more than a bomb on tracks of potent variety. When they were first used in 1943 on the Italian front, American soldiers were bewildered as to what they were as they approached their positions. They looked like a large toy tractor. Like some scene out of an alien movie, the first Goliaths proved effective in shock and awe value. But, once the initial impact was gone, Americans took target practice upon them as they approached.
Likewise, Iraqi soldiers in its fight to destroy ISIS, has soldiers watching the sky for ISIS drones, which are small. When one is spotted, gunfire erupts to shoot it down while also firing at real ISIS foes. If the drone fails to be hit, the Iraqi soldiers flee for cover. The drones also target Iraqi aid and refugees to terrorize and they are effective in causing over-the-top panic. Stopping the drones is difficult. Some of their larger drones carry more than one grenade. These fly to a target and hovers at 1000 ft. The ISIS controller will either drop them or send the drone into the target. Like all drones, the ISIS drones are nearly silent making them even more undetectable and since they are small, their impact on morale should not be discounted.
However, to combat this, the Americans have provided a limited number of electronic warfare gadgets called, DroneDefender. This rifle-looking device with an antenna, when aimed at a drone, will scramble the GPS as far as a quarter of a mile of the drone causing the drone to crash and explode far away. Over 100 have been sold to the US military but very few have reached the Iraqi soldiers. Only their Special Forces have them. The DroneDefender can also target drones 1300 ft in altitude. The weapon is just 15 lbs. and the battery pack is 10 lbs. Most of the devices in service are not with the military but Homeland Security and the White House.