Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Sep. 18, 2019 3 min read

It's quite astonishing how these small, cheap, unsophisticated UAVs are throwing a wrench in air defense systems around the globe. DJI drones used by ISIS would said personnel scrambling through rotor noise alone; Israel shot one down w/ a $3M Patriot missile. Iranian drone 👇

Those fairly rudimentary ISIS attacks carried out by DJI drones in Syria & the region created a fear much larger than their capability. The panic and contagion among troops is not too distant from the gun violence phantom events now commonplace here.

Here's a great thread on those ISIS drones, and the panic they weaponized:

While you can throw $3M Patriot Missiles and $100K Tamir Interceptors at $200 drones with an Iron Dome, which is currently the plan for restricted airspace zones under a dome like Washington D.C., it's both not viable, and cannot stop swarms.

Governments and police are showing off their cool looking RF blaster guns that can disrupt GPS and cause a drone to panic and land, but that doesn't stop air-gapped, visually-navigated UAVs — which your iPhone chipset has more than enough power to pull off

While these 9ft UAVs are not nearly as capable as what the Pentagon has, they're also different — on a new lateral that came by surprise to global powers, without many defensive equals. While they hit soft targets, an RQ-4N flys as a capable sitting duck.

Just last August, we saw 2 commercial DJI drones used in a botched assassination attempt against Maduro in Caracas. Some outlets still call it a false flag incident — but a Justice First deputy died by 'suicide' two months later.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/world/americas/venezuela-video-analysis.html 

The Gatwick airport chaos is probably the most interesting event to happen on this front yet — because no one knows if it actually happened. Police are now just calling it an 'inside job' without a culprit.  https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/15/gatwick-drone-attack-could-have-been-inside-job-say-police 

Yet, even after that chaos, and having deployed a £5m anti-drone system — likely provided by the military and allies — there was another near-strike with a drone just two weeks ago.  https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/28/passenger-plane-near-miss-drone-gatwick-airport 

There are now also catch drones designed to out-maneuver and capture enemy drones, versus a kinetic weapon to hard-kill them, but this is still very early — and these near-strikes and attacks are still happening.

Countries like Iran aren't the only scrappy player on this small UAV battlefield lateral, however 🙃

The most advanced drone market is currently China. DJI spawned an entire ecosystem, and we're seeing the largest commercial initiatives already in the field there. The Pentagon is likely weary of this; it fits their narrative of CCP ambition at every level

Also, the U.S. Army appears to have been experimenting with drone swarms at Fort Irwin in May. They're of course not alone — this is an interesting new lateral that everyone is exploring for both defense and offense. An arms race, if you will.

I don't have a message here. The drones are coming, and they present a real threat, and we still don't have the capability to stop them, or even regulate them. But we also shouldn't be afraid of them — we should just be ready. Good @peterwsinger piece  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/opinion/drone-attack-saudi-arabia.html 

But for every 1 drone attack, there will be millions of burritos and kidneys delivered — and that's still the future we want. We can no longer afford for the Postmates guy to whip around a 3,000lb heap of metal if the drones are viable too.

We want these computers in the sky.

Wing is now testing in the U.S.

And this thread couldn't be timed better. "Prosecutors have accused an autoworker of using a drone to drop bombs on his ex-girlfriend’s home... [A DJI drone connects] him to explosions that disturbed the community since late March... It rained nails."  https://gizmodo.com/man-accused-of-using-drone-to-airdrop-explosives-onto-e-1838215339 

U.S. Attorney statement on the first U.S. drone attack: “It does not take much imagination to conjure up the enormous harm that can result from the combination of illegal firearms, explosives, and drone aircrafts." Will be interesting to see how the regulative landscape evolves!

Additional great thread


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