We've talked about drone attacks before hereabouts.
Did we ever.
So have a lot of others.
Capabilities have mushroomed, and prices drop. This is how tech goes from evolutionary to revolutionary. For all values of that last word.
The day of the drone assassin has arrived.
In November of 2017, The Daily Beast broke the story of the first illegally weaponized drone found in Mexico. It was a relatively primitive version that sported a homemade shrapnel bomb and was found in the back of a vehicle belonging to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), in the state of Guanajuato.There's still the occasional Baghdad Bob "expert" certain that this isn't happening (even as events and people who study this for a living tell them it already has), but some people go through life as Mayor Vaughn in Amity, denying reality while townfolk keep washing up in pieces on the beach.
Then, about a month ago, evidence surfaced that CJNG had already advanced their drone designs considerably.
On July 10, the house of a Mexican public safety officer was targeted in a drone attack in Tecate, Baja California—a border city in the larger Tijuana-San Diego municipality that falls within CJNG’s established territory.
According to a new report co-authored by Dr. Robert Bunker, of the U.S. Army War College, the Tecate drone managed to drop its payload ISIS-style on the officer’s residence. Although the attack was apparently meant as a warning—since the grenades still had their safety pins intact—it also showed a clear step up in cartel-drone enhancement, including a second unmanned aircraft that conducted reconnaissance on site.
“Of the two drones, the Tecate one has far better lethality than the one in Guanajuato—we are comparing military grade grenades versus an IED,” Bunker told The Daily Beast.
“This is still an evolving global threat,” Bunker said. “The next firebreak, now that earlier ones have recently been broken in Mexico and Venezuela... would be weaponized drone incidents taking place in either Western Europe or in the United States. You can’t get much closer to the U.S. than Tecate, Mexico for an incident like this.”
Nobody's telling you to panic, or try knee-jerk bans. That horse left the barn decades ago.
FFS, my former artillery platoon commander transferred to the 1st RPV Platoon (Provisional) in 1985, over thirty years ago, when military drones were off-the-shelf homebuilts, and Israel had cobbled the tech together (along with the IAF) to wipe out every SAM site in the Bekaa Valley two years before that, with no friendly losses. In both cases, they recruited guys with civilian RC experience, and stood up units that relied on ancient engines and Styrofoam to build militarily significant machines with technology three generations earlier than what kids can have Amazon ship to their doorstep now.
Twenty years ago, we were using camera-armed drones to fly film shots that blended seamlessly with ground shots to fly a camera perspective down from 5000' to right in a window of a given house and down the hall.
If you can do that with a motion picture camera, it's obvious to anyone with two brain cells and stray voltage that you can do the same thing with a few pounds of high explosive.
And as usual, the profit motive (in this case drug money) and paramilitary desires for the perfect bomb have crossed the streams, and they're only getting better at it every day.
The progress from the drones seized in November, and the attack in July with a better version, was 9 months. Think where they'll be 9 months from now.
The question isn't whether it's going to happen, it's what's going to be done about it.
Airplanes started WWI with guys on opposite sides waving at each other, until one day some took along a pistol, then a rifle, then someone figured out how to rig a machinegun to fire through the propellers, and in under two years, shooting each other down went from ancillary effort to the entire point of the exercise. And in only thirty years (and two helpful world wars), that technology progressed from stick and fabric kites, to supersonic.
We're humans; this is what we do.
Making objects into tools, and tools into weapons is in our DNA.