Well, color me unshocked:
A couple of weeks back, Peter noted that hobby drones could and would be weaponized.
No shortage of jet-fuel geniuses were certain that it couldn't happen, because reasons, and "the payload capacity can be measured in grams".
Well, so can an 800 pound gorilla, Genius.
Now comes news that we're there.
$#!^, meet fan:
(CARTELISTAN) Mexican police discovered four men carting a kamikaze drone equipped with an IED and a remote detonator last week, in what analysts say is an example of cartels figuring out how to weaponizing UAVs.As Peter further noted in today's post:
The disturbing development is a manifestation of something top American security chiefs warned Congress about earlier this year, when they said they feared terrorists would begin to use drones to attack targets within the U.S.
Drug cartels had already been turning to drones to smuggle their product into the U.S., and had begun using IEDs in their turf struggles — but now at least cartel appears to have put the two technologies together, according to Mexican reports analyzed by Small Wars Journal.
The drone-IED combination was found in central Mexico, by federal police who did a traffic stop on a stolen pickup truck with four men in it.
Police found an AK-47, ammunition, phones and what the Small Wars Journal authors said appears to be a 3DR Solo Quadcopter, which retails for about $250 online. Taped to the drone was an IED, which could be trigger by remote detonator.
The hobby drone referred to at that link, the 3DR Solo Quadcopter, costs only $199 from online retailers such as Amazon.com. It can carry a payload of 1.1 pounds, according to its user manual - and Mexican drug cartels were obviously using that capability to the full.
The weight of a US M67 frag grenade, with the pin pulled, helpfully snuggled into a cut open half of a soda can.
Rig a tip over/release mechanism, drop from 390' AGL up and it detonates on impact. A bit higher gets you an airburst.
A few of those, and you can beat the Vegas shooter's tally in seconds.
We won't even talk about some whackjob terrorist waiting for a press conference on the South Lawn of the White House. Or some future Inauguration on the Capitol steps. The Secret Service has to be sweating bullets the size of goose eggs about now just thinking about that security nightmare.
Do one with 1# of thermite and a fuze, and exactly as I noted in comments at the earlier post and you can take out a fully-fueled jetliner queued up for takeoff.
Or a space rocket launch.
Or an armed strategic bomber back on nuclear alert (like we're phasing back in, right this minute).
Do the same thing over a fuel tank, and you get one helluva fire.
Do half a dozen in the Wilmington/San Pedro refinery farms south of L.A., and you start more fires in five minutes than the entire county could put out in five days.
Freeways at rush hour? Times 10 or 20 locations at interchanges?
How about someone taking out a few power distribution station transformers, and wiping an electrical grid off the map?
Do it at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal (or wait for Long Beach CA or Cove Point MD LNG terminals to open up in a couple of years), and you unleash the equivalent of an atomic blast.
For the cost of $200 of drone, and $50 of chemical components, using a cell phone trigger that's been in use in SWAsia since before 2002. And now found in Mexico. (Found by accident, and unlikely to be the only one; it's just the first one we know about.)
We won't even talk about what a pound or so of C-4 would do. Let alone several dozens of them. (World Series? Superbowl? Malls at Christmas? Wall Street at the opening bell? A handful of FAA Center air traffic control buildings, simultaneously? The imagination boggles.)
So where's the genius that assured us a coupla weeks back that the carrying capacity on these things was measured in grams?
Yeah, turns out that would be 500 grams, to be precise.
Every invention in human history has been weaponized, in about 0.2 seconds. Hobby drones are no different.
And as fast as Amazon can think of using them to deliver a package, and we can think of the reasons why that might be a bad idea, Dirkadirka Imawannajihad on Bakalakadaka Street can think of a few hundred reasons why it's perfectly suited to his purpose.
And the new price of a precision-guided munition has been dropped to $200, available on Amazon.
As weaponized by Mexican cartels.