Washington – ‘The United States should take the growing use of drones by terrorists and other organisations more seriously. If action is not taken against this threat in time, the next 9/11 will be carried out with drones equipped with explosives,’ warned a senior US military official. A senior official at a company working on anti-drone technology expressed his concern over drones equipped with biological or chemical weapons that could be just as dangerous.
The use of drones could trigger deadly attacks that no one would have possibly thought, a senior US military official told the weekly. ‘I kind of wonder what could you do if you had a couple of small UAS (unmanned aerial systems) and you flew into a crowded stadium. That could cause a lot of damage and it’s a scenario that could potentially be in play,’ the military chief warned with a request of anonymity. Is there confidential information regarding preparations being underway to carry out such an attack? In response, the military official cited an attack on the US more than 20 years ago.
‘It’s just like I had no specific knowledge before 9/11 that people could hijack planes and crash into buildings, but novelist Tom Clancy wrote a book about it. Also, there is no specific knowledge about the next 9/11 drone strikes. But there is a concern given the proliferation of small, portable drones, that explosive drones could cause a mass casualty event,’ informed the US military official.
The American weekly reported the reactions of some analysts and entrepreneurs to highlight the seriousness of the drone attack. Oleg Vornik, CEO of the US-based company DroneShield, said the possibility of drone strikes was even more alarming. ‘Small UAS can be seen as a highly effective and cheap platform for surveillance and payload delivery. For payload delivery, a small UAS can easily carry up to a few pounds of weight — this is a lot of explosive or biological or chemical weapons,’ Vornik claimed. ‘UAS can be purchased today in a completely unrestricted way, being considered toys, essentially. And even if suggested controls were put in place, the threat would only partially be addressed,’ he said.
‘The pilot of the drone would also be difficult to catch in an attack, making it more appealing to use,’ Vornik highlighted. A few days ago, while speaking to a British newspaper, a former NATO official had warned that there was a threat of a biological attack by a drone. ‘These types of drones could carry up to 5 kg, so a bomb that size could kill a few people. They could also put chlorine or mustard gas agent on it,’ claimed Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.
Meanwhile, there have been notable drone strikes in Iraq and Syria over the past month. Earlier this month, an explosives-laden drone struck a US military base in Syria. Whereas last week, three drones struck the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. An Israeli cargo ship travelling through the Gulf of Oman had been attacked by a drone as well. In such a scenario, all countries, including the United States, will have to seriously take notice of the warning issued by the US official.