A Comprehensive Guide To Drones In Use In Syria & Iraq
” In Syria and Iraq today, there are more drones, made in more countries, and flown by more groups, than in any previous conflict. Once primarily the domain of technologically advanced militaries such as the United States, drones are being adopted by less technologically advanced militaries, militias, and non-state actors with increasing frequency, and these groups are adapting the technology to a range of operations.
This publication provides a guide to the systems that are reported to be operating in Syria and Iraq. Based on analysis of visual media, we have found that at least 32 different identifiable drone models made in six countries have been reported to be operating in the conflict. Of the 32 types of systems, 10 were made in the United States, nine in China, six in Iran, four in Russia, two in Israel, and one in Turkey. The majority of the drones are light hand or rail-launched small tactical surveillance drones. Of these, eight recreational hobby drones have been identified from the reports. A handful of other unidentified or homemade drone types have also been spotted.”
” The conflict represents the first known use of many of these systems in actual combat. The Iranian Shahed-129 and Chinese CH-4, two rough equivalents to the U.S. MQ-1 Predator, conducted their first known drone strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Affordable recreational drones made in China have also made their way onto the battlefield, marking a milestone in the widespread proliferation of aerial surveillance platforms among insurgent and terrorist groups. The conflict marks the first time that hobby drones have been modified with explosives and turned into flying improvised explosive devices.
This collection includes drones ranging from Turkey’s Bayraktar tactical surveillance and strike drone to the DJI Phantom, a popular hobby drone. For each of the systems featured in this guide, we provide a short background, key system features and specifications, and reported users. Each platform profile is also accompanied by a photo from our collection of reports from Iraq and Syria.”