The battle of Mosul witnessed various implementations and models of armed UAV attacks done by Daesh (or so-called ISIS). However, the attacks didn’t totally repel the governmental forces though it helped in obstructing them for a while.
The models we are discussing in this post are Anti-Armor, Anti-Personnel free dropping UAVs and suicidal remote controlled mini-planes (Kamikaze UAV). They also serve duty as their main task is as surveillance for monitoring the battlespace, and to help direct their artillery (mortars and rockets) in real time.
There was an article discussing the drones of Daesh and Iraqi Army (which copied Daesh’s technique) but in this article you will see some different equipment.
The Anti-Armor Free Dropping IED
A video footage released by Daesh captured from the drone/delivery platform showed a dropping of a 2 kilograms payload in a shuttlecock style IED on a military convoy including an M1 Abrams main battle tank advancing before 3 HUMVEEs to provide protection for them, but the strike came from above.
The bomb which shattered the HUMVEE to pieces is believed to be containing a mixture of Ethylene Oxide and Propylene Oxide which causes a volume detonation using the oxygen surrounding the target to increase the explosion’s wave, as they said.
There are also claims that these bombs are magnetic-guided, meaning they use a magnet to lock on nearest metal target but that’s doubtful since the magnet can negatively affect the functionality of the drone/UAV. And magnetic forces would not be powerful enough to attract from that distance.
Here are the pictures showing a slow analysis of the attack.
The Anti-Personnel Variant
This variant is using the same concept and design except on a smaller scale for targeting infantry troops on-foot but it also can target armored vehicles, true it is not as destructive than the anti-armor one but it can take out the mounted machine gun or the gunner leaving it useless, with lots of shrapnel, not to mention soft skin vehicles as well.
Another incident from Daesh in Syria targeting an ammunition depot for Al-Assad’s forces, the damage was outstanding.
In addition of the previous Assault RC Planes, there is something not lessdangerous which is their Kamikaze remote control planes. These UAVs are home grown built (which you can see from its design) and capable to deliver a heavier payload of explosives. It is expected to break in fortifications, assembled groups of soldiers and even tanks.
Some of these incomplete UAVs were captured in Mosul as the following pictures show them.
Manned Aerial Kamikaze Vehicles
These were discovered in Mosul after Daesh’s evacuation, where they had begun building their own planes which were not designed to land anywhere but to be flying suicide bombs.
They were crudely put together but it takes expertise and creativity, in which they assembled them from the locally available materials, luckily these projects were incomplete.
It takes nothing but a mechanical engineer with some knowledge of aerodynamics and flight sciences to start such a project.
Many observers –including my self- believe that the withdrawal of Daesh is temporary, leaving the theatre to their opponents. We can assume Daesh hopes they will start fighting each other sooner or later for spoils and political power over the regions, then they can return again after their opponents exhaust each other.
We also must not overlook that the deployment of regular troops all the time and everywhere to repel small armed groups is very costly to any state/regime to gain a fast and decisive victory to reclaim the land–unlike the small guerrilla groups which can dissociate and assemble anytime.
However, new tactics must be adopted to repel such attacks without affecting the structure of regular forces with considering the cost of such tactics as well, but it is very obvious that in the future there should be a wide usage of anti-drone armament.