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  • The DIY ‘Assault Drone’ Siege of Russian Bases in Syria

    Posted by Trent Telenko on August 26th, 2018 (All posts by )

    Since New Years 2018, there have been 23 attacks with 45 (+) home brew do it yourself (DIY) assault drones in Syria aimed at Russian and Assad Regime bases.  Three to four separate types of assault drone/small scale cruise missile designs have been identified to date.  Russian intelligence in various media sources say they are being built in Idlib, Syria by Syrian rebel forces.

    .

    The latest and scariest Syrian Rebel drone seems to have been a 3D laser scanned and 3D plastic body printed copy of a Russian Elevon (Aileron in Russian)  Drone.  The Elevon has an air frame that is closely patterned on the old 1980’s US Army Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila drone.
    .
    Photos of this 3D printed Syrian rebel drone were posted on BBC social media accounts.

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    This is the bootleg 3D printed version of the Russian Elevon drone used by Syrian Rebels

    This photo shows a Syrian rebel laser scanned to CAD/CAM software and plastic 3D printed copy of a captured Russian Elevon drone. The grainy surface of the Drone is the “tell” of a 3D printed part.  BBC photo credit

    .

    The drones used in the January 2018 attacks on Khmeimim airbase and the naval logistical base in Tartus drew on existing radio controlled aircraft technology.  They had diesel engines, wood, plastic and Styrofoam construction, global positioning system guidance and aerometer altitude sensors.  The larger of the two DIY drones carried up to ten bomblets and had an estimated range of 100 KM.

     

    The two DIY assault drone designed used in the January 2018 attacks on Russian bases in Syria.

    The two DIY assault drone designs used in the January 2018 attacks on Russian bases in Syria.  Russian MoD Photo

    One of the important technical features of the bomblets used in the first attack was their off the shelf construction from available in Syria components.

    Syrian Rebel drone bomblets made using existing mortar fuses, 3D printed fins and fuse mounting bodies with lots of plastic tape to hold it all together!

    Syrian Rebel drone bomblets made using existing mortar fuses, low end 3D printed fins and fuse mounting bodies with lots of plastic tape in between to hold it all together!  Russian MoD photo

    One or more of these drones seems to have been successful in striking a Russian Su-24 at Khmeimim airbase in January 2018, as shown below.

    The South Front web site identified this aircraft as a Syrian based Su-24 from earlier Russian media video of the tail number. The lack of fragmentation damage in the above photo is not consistent with a mortar strike described by South Front. It may have been as a result of a high explosive (H.E.) drone strike or plastic body H.E. bomblet hit.

    The South Front web site identified this aircraft as a Syrian based Su-24 from earlier Russian media video of the tail number. The lack of fragmentation damage in the above photo is not consistent with a mortar strike described by South Front. It may have been as a result of a high explosive (H.E.) drone strike or plastic body H.E. bomblet hit.

    The SU-24 damaged above cost at least $50 million.  Media sources place the total damage at anywhere between three strike fighters and seven strike fighters an a hind Gunship.  Drones costing maybe $100,000 put between $50 million to $400 million in high tech aircraft out of action for months.  There are a -lot- of implications in those numbers.

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    The latest on Syrian DIY drone developments can be found at these links —

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    A Russian technology anti-drone jamming gun similar to the one below most likely brought down the Elevon drone-clone used by Syrian Rebels:

    Judging from the uniform, boots and English markings on jammer in this twitter photo.  The photo shows either an Iraqi soldier or US supported Kurdish fighter somewhere in the Mid-East.

    Judging from the uniform, boots and English markings on jammer in this twitter photo.  The photo shows either an Iraqi soldier or US supported Kurdish fighter somewhere in the Mid-East.

    Summary:

    The emergence of DIY Assault Drone/Cruise missile production by Syrian warlords marks a “Revolution in military affairs” that rivals the 1967 sinking of the Israeli Destroyer INS Eilat by Egyptian Styx Cruise missiles. (See this Steel jaw scribe blog post for detailed history reference)

    We are going to see more such assault drones in our near future, and a lot closer to home.

    If ISIS can do this in was torn Syria, under Assad regime bombardment and without a functioning electrical power grid.  We will most definitely see this sort of thing inside the USA.

    Source & Notes:

    Russian Bases in Syria Attacked With Black Market Drones
    By Kyle Mizokami Jan 11, 2018

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a15062767/russian-bases-in-syria-attacked-with-black-market-drones/

     

    Russian Forces in Syria Repelled Massive Drone Attack on Hmeimim and Tartus
    By Tamir Eshel -Jan 8, 2018
    https://defense-update.com/20180108_uav_attack.html

     

    THE SINKING OF THE INS EILAT: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST SURFACE TO SURFACE ENGAGEMENT WITH ASCM’S
    21 October 2017
    http://steeljawscribe.com/2017/10/21/the-sinking-of-the-ins-eilat-50th-anniversary-of-the-first-surface-to-surface-engagement-with-ascms

    DIY Drone Attacks on Russian, Saudi Targets Signal Change in Fight Against Militant Groups
    Paul McLeary January 12, 2018 4:25 PM
    https://news.usni.org/2018/01/12/diy-drone-attacks-russian-saudi-targets-signal-change-fight-militant-groups

    Aileron (UAV)
    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%AD%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BD_(%D0%91%D0%9F%D0%9B%D0%90)

    Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_MQM-105_Aquila

    EVALUATING REPORTS ABOUT ALLEGEDLY DESTROYED RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT AT KHMEIMIM AIR BASE IN SYRIA
    https://southfront.org/evaluating-reports-about-allegedly-destroyed-russian-aircraft-at-khmeimim-air-base-in-syria/

     

     

    11 Responses to “The DIY ‘Assault Drone’ Siege of Russian Bases in Syria”

    1. PenGun Says:

      I built this from parts:

      http://carnagepro.com/photo/45/astro/butterquad.jpg

      I am not good with it but it works very well. Its actually a race quad, and although its control hardware and software is very sophisticated, its for racing and freestyle inside about a kilometer. It mounts a camera and you drive it with a goggle set up, so you are actually flying it.

      It was an experiment and also a way back into electrical and computer hardware that I can be somewhat creative with. Its really gone nowhere. ;)

      My point is that Banggood has everything you need for all your drone related projects. Its just the cheapest place to get stuff, and anyone with a bit of ingenuity can make all kinds of cute devices.

    2. Roy Kerns Says:

      “…all kinds of cute devices.”

      Indeed.

      To steal a line from a movie, “wave of the future” and the subsequent borderline (pun intended) insanity.

    3. Anonymous Says:

      I won’t say the Russians enjoy having their bases attacked, but they are there to gain experience as well as stir the pot. They have rotated nearly 70,000 Russian troops through their Syrian command to this end.

      As well a laser anti air device has just been accepted for the Russian army. I’m fairly sure its main purpose is this kind of thing, as its not all that big. If they continue as they have, it should show up soon in Syria.

      Their battle robots have been quite successful as well, and they too have benefited from the Syrian testing ground. ;)

    4. Kirk Says:

      This is the leading edge of the next wave of military innovation. We’re at about the Russo-Japanese War stage, as compared to the systemic shock experienced by WWI combatants. For them, it was barbed wire, machine guns, and coordinated artillery. For us? Drones, and the weaponization of low-level automation like cell phones.

      My guess is that there’s going to be a conflict between someone like the Russians or Chinese, and one of the high-tech peripheral states to their little empires. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania–Maybe. Taiwan? Almost certainly… And, what’s going to come out of that conflict, triggered by the inherent force imbalances, is going to be a nightmare of weaponized toy drones, cell phones, and God alone knows what else. The Russians and Chinese had better hope they manage to maintain dominance of the networks, because those networks are going to be used against them in ways we can’t even imagine today. Just like the machine gun and barbed wire changed the battlefield of the early 20th Century, ubiquitous drone and network intel is going to change the battlefield of the mid-21st.

      If I were defending any of the Baltic states today, I’d put my money into robust mesh networking, and ensure that hobbyists had plenty of access to things like anti-armor munitions (any of the PGM bomblets, for example…). I’d also start running competitions for drone operations with live ammo, to get everyone interested and up to speed. Set up training ranges on the borders, and then open things up to hacker’s competitions. Let the counter-measures guys play, too–They’ll hone each other. My guess is that after a couple of years of that, the odds of a successful Russian armored attack would drop to about nil…

      War, and how we wage it? It’s about to change, again. And, this time, it’s going to be a nasty one. I’d also be looking to strikes on things like drone operators that aren’t even in the theater of operations. Nellis AFB, outside of Las Vegas, where most US drone operators work out of? I would bet good money that there are already surveys done of where the drone pilots and operational crews are living off-post and vulnerable, with agents already in place to attack them at home when they’re vulnerable. I’m actually surprised this hasn’t happened, already–It’s way past time we pulled all those people back on post, and initiated better security. Actually, Nellis needs to be transitioned to another mission, and drone operations needs to go to some remote base like Mountain Home up in Idaho, where you can’t blend in with the locals if you’re a terrorist. Freakin’ Las Vegas? WTF? You could have probably hidden bin Laden there, and we’d have never noticed…

    5. Trent Telenko Says:

      Post updated with size adjusted images.

    6. Brian Says:

      Why should we believe anything the Russians report from Syria? (Or anybody else does, for that matter.) They’re incompetent, and they’re liars. There are lots of different groups in country, with tons of outside supporters. Everyone has strong incentive to lie about events.

      I remember that big airfield attack that they claimed was done by those balsa wood drones. It was ludicrous. And that stupid story didn’t come out for days after plenty of indie sources reported a major attack on Russian airplanes there. It was obviously a cover for the fact that they got their butts handed to them by someone elite able to operate with impunity at what should be their most strongly protected locations. Similar to the coverups about how many of their most senior military leaders in Syria have been killed by, well, someone.

    7. CapitalistRoader Says:

      The last picture headed with:

      A Russian technology anti-drone jamming gun similar to the one below most likely brought down the Elevon drone-clone used by Syrian Rebels:

      …isn’t showing up in Firefox. Four previous pictures are fine.

    8. Mike K Says:

      drone operations needs to go to some remote base like Mountain Home up in Idaho, where you can’t blend in with the locals if you’re a terrorist.

      A few years ago AF UAVs were being flown from Davis Monthan in Tucson.

      They don’t like to call them “drones.”

    9. PenGun Says:

      LOL. The Russians are incompetent. That is funny.

      You might notice the war is going well. All the various people the “coalition” supported are defeated and Idlib is next. The American forces in Al Tanf and in the north east are sitting on their asses, displaying incredible competence. ;)

      Although your news outlets happily suck up the all missiles hit nonsense its just that. Your cruise missile strikes have been blunted every time. The Russians live streamed the first one with drone views of the many misses.

      The next one may be a game changer, Russia has threatened the US, that it will take out launchers next time. They almost did last time. As there will be a false flag soon, Assad has never used chems on Syria, we can just hope the madness does not progress.

    10. Trent Telenko Says:

      >>CapitalistRoader

      Curious

      The last photo is showing up in other browsers, but it won’t show up on my copy of Firefox either.

    11. Trent Telenko Says:

      Try it now.