The Islamic State has begun to repurpose off-the-shelf remote-controlled drones to be reutilized for dropping explosives on Iraqi Security Forces as they continue to clear pockets of resistance inside Mosul, Iraq.
Heval Zinar, a Kurdish soldier whose unit recently left Mosul, spoke with American Military News about the drone problem.
“They configured them to drop small munitions, items like rigged 40-millimeter explosives or hand grenades. But the real threat comes from the surveillance, especially when they are used to recon guard posts or walk on indirect fire,” Zinar said.
Brett Sylvia, a U.S. Army Colonel who is currently leading Task Force Strike which assists and advises Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in Mosul, told Rudaw that the commercial drones were being used to drop grenades and other small munitions on Iraqi fighters, civilians, equipment and structures.
Col. Sylvia also said that although it was one of the first times they had seen the Islamic State use drones for purposes other than aerial observation, it was not a rapidly increasing problem. U.S. and Iraqi forces were able to quickly find a way to combat the flying contraptions, by using anything from frequency jamming techniques to nets that protect vital assets and personnel.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (referred to as the YPG) and the Iraqi Security Forces use commercial drones for surveillance as well as to spot ISIS positions inside Mosul.