Basic drones, available now, can simply enough be made to carry bombs, fly themselves autonomously on a predetermined path, scan for targets, land on the targets, then ignite. This is not a nightmarish, dystopian, future world fantasy. It can be done now.
John Robb says we need to start planning for this now, because the evildoers (drug cartels, terrorists) probably already are. The answer will not be more of the same Orwellian more eye in the sky surveillance so favored by the Pentagon and defense contractors, who in a bizarre coincidence, profit mightily from it. NSA has admitted that all of theit hugely expensive monitoring and storing data has not produced a single actionable piece of intel that could have stopped an attack.
Besides, monitoring all the skies all the time for drones and reacting to potential threats in real time is simply not doable. Let’s say Empire State Building scanners spot fifty possibly weaponized drones heading towards it. Does it shoot them down, risking injury to those on the streets below? What if the bomb explodes when it crash lands?
The best and perhaps only way to prevent such attacks is before the drones take off. This requires a whole different mindset than passively sucking up data from everywhere and trying to make sense of it in real time.
Drones and their software will be getting much smarter too. This trend is irreversible.
Robb details how an airport could be attacked now.
Even this basic capability is more than enough to turn a basic drone into an extremely dangerous first strike weapon. Here’s a scenario that pits ten drones against a major airport:
- Ten drones would take off autonomously in 1 minute intervals.
- Each would follow a GPS flightpath to a preselected portion of an airport.
- Upon arrival, a digital camera would identify the nearest wing of an aircraft.
- The drone would autonomous land in the middle of that wing.
- A pound of thermite in the payload would ignite upon landing.
- The thermite would burn through the wing, igniting the fuel inside…
- Most of the airport and nearly all of the planes on the tarmac are destroyed.