THE video at the bottom of this post should shock you. It isn’t that it is graphic, through the host does like to swear a bit. It is because it shows the deadly potential of what is little more than a toy, a gadget bought for a few hundred Pounds that with a modification or two has the potential to change the face of warfare for the worse.
Al Qaeda showed the world nearly a decade and a half ago that you don’t need to be a military super power to get yourself at the top of the global political agenda. The use of hijacked airliners on September 11 2001 demonstrated that for the price of an air ticket and a few craft knives you can bring devastation to the heart of a nation and fear to a whole planet.
The rise of Islamic State has changed the game further moving the rules of war so far away from the traditional battle lines of nation states, flags and uniforms, that experience gained from past conflicts is increasingly irrelevant.
Islamic State achieves its aim though seemingly anarchistic means paradoxically controlled by a brand of religion. It doesn’t need layers of command and control. There is no requirement for warships, tanks and fighter jets. To have those would necessitate structure, training and hierarchy. All impediments to the way it does business.
That is why the video below is so shocking. Its creator calls it “Charlene.” It is a Quad Copter - one of those cheap to buy drones that are increasing in popularity with everyone from amateur photographers and gadget geeks to movie makers and estate agents. It is controlled by another cheap to buy product - a tablet.
This quad copter is different to those you’ll find in the shops. It has been DIY fitted with a machine gun and an explosive charge. As this video demonstrates, it gives the user a potentially murderous new capability for a miniscule fraction of the cost of a modern military weapon like Predator drone, or Apache attack helicopter.