Rising Threat: The Proliferation of Suicide Drones Among Terrorist Groups

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The advanced use of drones as weapons of war has not been confined to state actors. Terrorist groups are increasingly shifting to suicide drones, otherwise understood as kamikaze drones, as a component of their arsenal. Tactics Institute is deeply concerned with these developments as they threaten regional security. This military technology is more like a missile in that it holds an explosive payload and self-destructs during delivery, therefore the name “suicide drone.” The utilization of suicide drones by terrorist organizations has prompted significant concern within the Tactics Institute, amplifying apprehensions surrounding regional security

After Russia’s thriving use of Iranian suicide drones to target Ukrainian civilians, the popularity of these suicide UAVs in terror attacks has grown immensely.

Another Iranian proxy, Hamas, has also tested the same strategy, which seems to be in its early stages. In similar circumstances, the Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq have endeavored to use drones to conduct terror aggression on US bases, though these have yet to prove effective. 

Recent events, however, have shown that the Houthi Rebels are growing in using drone technology, whereas other terrorist groups have failed. With technical help from Iran, the Houthis have developed and successfully used their suicide drones to disrupt world trade with the purported aim of avenging allies of the State of Israel. The disruption to global trade has been so influential that the number of ships passing through the Red Sea route has more than split since November 2023. While the aerial UAV has so far been the immediate method of drone attack by the  Houthis, naval drone attacks should also be anticipated to become a growing issue in the future.

The surge in terrorist groups’ adoption of suicide drones alarms the Tactics Institute, heightening fears for regional security. To curtail their proliferation, heightened investment in anti-drone defenses and stringent controls on drone sales is imperative.

To fight against this growing drone terrorism in the Red Sea and to prevent its expansion in the region, western allies need to finance their relatively inexpensive anti-drone capabilities urgently. 

Moreover, The recent aggression on American troops in Jordan and international shipping in the Red Sea are two illustrations of the many challenges that come with drone warfare. The ability of non-state actors to inflict real damage cheaply and the prospect for them to improve their destructive ability by learning from the West is a grave policy concern. This is further complicated by an increased risk of human error, as demonstrated in the recent Jordan attack.

The utilization of suicide drones by terrorist organizations has prompted significant concern within the Tactics Institute, amplifying apprehensions surrounding regional security. Urgent measures are necessary, including bolstering anti-drone capabilities and implementing stricter regulations on drone distribution. Moreover, developing innovative anti-capture technology and enhanced detection systems is essential to mitigate potential risks effectively.

We insist that Policymakers will need a severe approach consisting of developing new anti-drone technology, anti-capture technology, and much better detection systems. Drones are already a threat to Western security, especially in unsafe regions. The West must do all it can to counter this growing and glaring security concern.   

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