The Department of Defense is asking Congress for $20 million to fight Islamic State’s growing drones arsenal.
In a budget request, the Defense Department needs the funding shifted to “identify, acquire, integrate and conduct testing” on technology to create systems that “counter the effects of unmanned aerial systems and the threats they pose to U.S. forces,” Bloomberg News reports.
ISIS has increased its use of commercially available drone technology to carry out attacks. ISIS’s unmanned aerial vehicles “pose a direct threat to U.S. and coalition forces,” the request said.
ISIS uses drones for offensive attacks and surveillance against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, often looking for convoys and potential targets, according to David Small, a spokesperson for the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency. ISIS has flown “quadcopters and fixed-wing type drones you can buy commercially” as “both an IED delivery system and for reconnaissance,” Small said.
The small size and availability of remote aircraft has become a problem for coalition forces fighting ISIS, and dealing with threats from small drones can be a challenge. Last year, U.S. forces took down an ISIS drone for the first time by bombing it with a warplane.
Earlier this month, ISIS websites released a propaganda video shot in part with GoPro cameras mounted on drones, showing the fighting around Ramadi.
The funds for the anti-drone program would be redirected from other areas of the defense budget.
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