Armed drones traverse the skies of the Middle East endlessly, creating havoc and new threats to the United States


A masked fighter in camouflage uniform drags two gray drones with wooden propellers and warheads across the dunes of Gaza. A winged aircraft equipped with a metal launcher fired into the sky and set out to attack Israel.

Propaganda video released by Hamas in the middle of this month Worst battle Over the years, with Israel, it was intended to cast a militant group as a terrifying combat force capable of overcoming the enemy’s advanced army with its own homemade technology.

However, the video also helped highlight the surge in military drones that traverse the region’s skies in unprecedented numbers. They are targeting oil facilities, extremist hideouts, Israeli and Palestinian territories, and even US bases in the region.

Some are shot down, but others are cheaper to build and some are in the air, which can reach your goals and can have catastrophic consequences.

Many unmanned aerial vehicles or their components may be linked to Iran, US officials say. A worrisome threat from Washington’s long-standing enemies has forced Pentagon planners to rethink their long-standing strategies to protect their local allies and their troops.

“These small and medium sized [drones] General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., commander-in-chief of the United States in the Middle East, told Congress last month. “For the first time since the Korean War, we are operating without a complete air superiority fighter.”

The most sophisticated of these armed drones, known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, belong to the United States and Israel, due to practices condemned by militant targeted killings, human rights groups, etc. for the past two decades. Has been used frequently. Some are for civilian victims.

In recent weeks, Israeli forces have bombed Gaza, and Hamas has attempted to launch a small number of armed drones at Israel, along with thousands of rockets and missiles. Most drones appear to have been shot down by Israeli fighters or destroyed by launchers. In some cases, Israeli drones are spinning overhead.

Israel has produced a public video showing that the F-16 is tracking the drone, warning that the cockpit warnings are repeating “altitude, altitude” and that the jet is flying too low. The streak missile suddenly appears as a white streak on the infrared camera, destroying the UAV.

Another Israeli video said an airstrike on “a terrorist corps preparing to launch an explosive UAV from Gaza to Israel” and that the Israeli Defense Forces were used by the head of a UAV unit in Hamas. Showed that it was said to be a bombing of. Human rights groups have blamed the high civilian deaths from the bombing of the Gaza Strip, which destroyed the entire residential complex.

Paramilitary organization in Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Build a domestic drone production industry and use ships, land routes and freighters to bring Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even a few small aircraft to Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even a few to Palestine Syria some types of small aircraft are smuggled back. Territory, US authorities say. Sometimes it provides plans but not hardware, they added.

Iran has repeatedly denied smuggling of drones and other weapons to militant groups in the region.

Even cheaper non-military drones and parts are widely available from China and other sources, make explosives easy to install, and make them crude but potentially effective single-use weapons. U.S. officials say it can change.

Such attacks on the United States and its allies are becoming more frequent, officials say.

Joseph Dempsey, a military analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank, said the Hamas drone resembles a type of unmanned aerial vehicle called Avaville manufactured by Iran, but it is not an exact copy. Stated. The name seems to refer to the bird that protected Mecca by dropping stones on the enemy in the Quran. Hamas calls the drone Sihab, or shooting star in Arabic.

Iran first produced Ababil during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. However, new versions are being exported around the Middle East. Friday, A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has begun, Iran revealed that it has stated that it is a new long-range drone called Gaza. No footage of the aircraft in flight was released.

Separately, Israel said it shot down a drone near the Jordanian border on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the aircraft was launched by Iran from Syria or Iraq.

HamasThe drone is smaller than Iran’s UAV, and the wing configuration and engine parts are similar to those sold by Chinese companies, suggesting that Hamas made it himself, probably with technical assistance from Iran. Mr Dempsey said.

A video released by Hamas shows a fighter with a controller that is believed to have been used when the drone took off. During flight, it appears to be guided by a basic satellite global positioning device attached to the fuselage and guided to the target.

“Access to UAV technology has become very widespread at the low end, making it relatively easy to develop and to varying degrees of military effectiveness,” said Dempsey.

A military spokesman, Colonel Wayne Marotte, said in western Iraq this month that a drone equipped with an aerial camera attacked an air force base used by the U.S. military, damaging the hangar but causing no casualties. It was.

Another drone dropped an explosive last month near US troops stationed at Erbil Airport in northern Iraq.

This is the first unmanned aerial vehicle to attack the U.S. military in Ilville amid a constant stream of rocket attacks blaming Iran-backed militias at the base where Washington hosts the U.S. military and the Embassy of Baghdad. Was a known attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for either attack on Iraq, officials said the United States is under investigation.

Small drones can be launched from almost anywhere. In some cases, the controller can adjust the course during flight, so it will fly relatively low. This makes it difficult to track and makes it nearly impossible to attack common defense systems in the Middle East designed to attack ballistic missiles, such as the Israeli Iron Dome system and the US Patriot missile defense battery.

The drone can also interfere with the guidance system or shoot down during flight to stop it. Most drones in the Middle East fly slowly, so air-to-air missiles can be used to unload them relatively easily with fighter jets, as long as they can be detected by radar.

“You can’t predict the trajectory. You can’t predict where the targets are. You have to shoot them down along the way,” said Uzi Rubin, a former director of the Israeli Missile Defense Agency. “If they can manage it … UAVs are powerless against manned aircraft.”

But if the drone isn’t found or jammed, it’s likely to reach its target, especially if multiple drones are launched at once, he said in a forum hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Defense Affairs. Rubin said. , A Washington think tank that supports the close relationship between the United States and Israel.

“When they’re sending them in the hundreds or thousands, they’re saturated, so there’s a technical challenge,” Rubin said.

Iran is believed to have provided drones, parts and design information to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have intensified their attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months. Saudi Arabia has been supporting Yemeni government forces in a civil war that lasted more than six years.

In addition to missile attacks, the Houthi army has launched a wave of drone attacks within hundreds of miles of Saudi Arabia. In September 2019, they launched a devastating attack on an oil plant with missiles and a UAV with delta wings.

A UN investigation later concluded that the drone had a gyroscope and engine similar to those used in Iran’s drones, “the delta wing UAV and / or part of it used in the attack on Saudi Arabia. Is of Iranian origin. “

Since the attack, Saudi Arabia has often succeeded in shooting down many of the incoming drones and missiles with the help of the United States, US officials said.

Last month, these officials said the Houthi rebels launched intermediate-range missiles and 10 armed drones in Ras Tanura and Dammam, eastern Saudi cities with major oil facilities. Saudi Arabia said the damage caused by the attack was minimal.

It has released a video showing one of the unmanned aerial vehicles skimming over the desert towards an unknown target in Saudi Arabia. Suddenly, it was caught in a violent explosion and apparently attacked by an interceptor missile.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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