Tag Archives: drones

DIY Combat Drones

Popular Mechanics highlighted a few stories in the world of DIY weapons lately that’re worth looking at. Sort of a mashup, but to distill down: an ISIS workshop in Mosul was found with a number of DIY weaponized drones. This follows a February find of a workshop in Ramadi complete with vehicles constructed of plywood and styrofoam. The Mosul site included a peculiar model that looked to be a fixed-wing drone with attached quadrotor and PM speculated that it was either a mothership kind of design or for dropping boobytrapped quadrotors.

I’m left wondering if it was some sad attempt to create a fixed wing/VTOL hybrid, able to elevate vertically without runway or human launch but then take advantage of fixed-wing speed and stability like a Harrier.

Another part of the Popular Mechanics story was from Syria, where a refugee camp was hit by miniature guided bombs that appeared to be at least partially 3D-printed. They lacked engines but did apparently have working servos to operate fins and provide mid-course correction or at least stabilization, reportedly dropped from drones. I’ve been expecting sophisticated 3D-printed ordnance from insurgencies for a while but assumed they’d be in rocket form – perhaps it’s just easier to drop from above and guide in than launch and propel, plus the launch site has a better chance of staying undetected. The problem with assuming these latter are insurgent bombs though – aside from the fact that the Syrian regime is happy to kill refugees at their leisure – is that the height you’d need to drop them from to allow for any kind of vertical guidance is considerable, higher than the typical quadrotor. ISIS obviously has fixed wing dronecraft but the level of sophistication involved has me wondering.

Given the previous evolution I talked about involving ipad accelerometers to aim mortars in Syria and Raspberry Pi-powered missile launchers in Ukraine, when we were barely producing single-shot 3D printed firearms a decade ago, we’re likely to see more innovation in this area and to terrible effect.

Evening Reading for October 29, 2013

Quotes in quotation marks, commentary by me in italics.

Guardian: Family of grandmother killed in US drone strike arrive for Congress visit – ‘Among the most striking evidence that the attack was carried out by a US drone, Qadri said, was the “phenomenal accuracy” of the strike. “It physically hits her,” he said, referring to Momina Bibi. “She’s literally hit flush and is blown to smithereens.”‘ – Family’s story was consistent across multiple blind interviews. No answers for them so far. Government’s story has changed multiple times, from suggesting this grandmother was cooking for militants to implying a militant had simply “been in the area” ten minutes before. Crushing. Infuriating.

TPM: British Man Arrested For Allegedly Hacking U.S. Government Systems – “An indictment unsealed in Newark federal court said Love, who was also allegedly known as “nsh,” “route,” and “peace,” worked with multiple co-conspirators in online chatrooms to compromise the systems and steal personally identifiable information of thousands of government employees and contractors.”

Phys: – New material for quantum computing discovered out of the blue -“Our research shows that a common blue dye has more potential for quantum computing than many of the more exotic molecules that have been considered previously.”‘ – Gotta love the little tricks the universe pulls from time to time.

Gawker: Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured – Article’s from 2011 but I stumbled across it today and found it pretty educational. The great, free society that Libertarians want to build doesn’t even take care of their own. What the hell kind of way is that to live?