Quentin Sommerville, BBC Middle East Correspondent, who covered the Mosul offensive, has an important thread on twitter about confronting the drone threat.
He begins by noting that shooting down drones is a bad idea.
He notes. “Islamic State used a lot of drones in Mosul – and weaponised them by dropping 40mm grenades from off-the-shelf models…Drones are fast, small, and hard to hit. The drone kept flying, and even landed safely. This was the only damage done ti it, despite all the hot lead flying up in the air (and coming down again). Shooting drones doesn’t work.”
He recalls the panic the soldiers felt from hard to see drones flying overhead. “The sound of drones sent men into a panic. If they heard them, they’d hit the ground, or crawl under a humvee. The drones weren’t only dropping grenades, this one had an unknown white powder as its payload, “don’t go near that” Major Salam warned me. it lay outside for weeks.”
The drones were “regular consumer drones, ordered from China and modified by IS…y the end of the battle for mosul, all scepticism had vanished and it was clear that drones were a new and real danger on the battlefield. The vehicle you see here is a bomb disposal team who were burnt alive after IS dropped a grenade from a drone into their vehicle.”
The thread sheds light on the increasing use of drones, including by terror groups and armies. Some militaries are experimenting with new technology to deal with this threat. The US Congress has partnered with Israel on anti-UAV technology, for instance.