Open source information on non-state actors weapon arsenal is difficult to glean due to their lack of transparency. MilitaryEdge.org has created broad categories, when necessary, of non-state actors weaponry to provide a general sense of capabilities.
In recent years, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State have attempted to develop drone programs.
During the summer war with Hamas in 2014, the Gaza-based terrorist group flew a medium-sized UAV into Israeli airspace which was quickly shot down by an Israeli Patriot missile system. In video released by Hamas after the incident, the drone, which Hamas calls the ‘Ababil 1,’ appears to be homemade with four small rockets that are never launched. Israeli defense officials speculate that Hamas possesses more but referred to them as “model airplanes’ implying that they are relatively unsophisticated.
In November 2012, Israel targeted Hamas’ UAV infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Air Force “inflicted severe damage to Hamas’ UAV infrastructure,” the Israel Defense Forces stated.
Since 2002, Hezbollah has been in the possession of drones. According to Israeli media reports, Hezbollah has recently taken steps to enhance its UAV arsenal, much of which is believed to be variants of the Iranian Ababil drone.
The exact size of Hezbollah’s drone fleet is unclear. A recent report in the Israeli media suggested Hezbollah had 200. However, in 2009, Israeli officials told their American counterparts that they assessed that Hezbollah had only “several” Ababil drones. And, in 2006, an Israeli expert suggested Hezbollah had no more than 30 Ababil drones.
Over the past decade, Hezbollah has sent drones on a couple of occasions into Israeli airspace. For example, in 2004, Hezbollah sent an Iranian-made drone into Israeli territory. The following year, another Hezbollah drone entered Israeli airspace. And, during the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, a number of Hezbollah drones were eliminated by Israel.
In October 2012, the Israeli Air Force shot down a Hezbollah drone that was flying over the northern Negev. Following the incident, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said, “It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine…. This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want.”
Hezbollah may have successfully used an armed drone in August 2016, when footage emerged of what appears to be a small quad-copter dropped grenade-sized munitions on Syrian rebel positions. While fairly crude, the method appears to utilize abundantly available artillery sub-munitions and commercially sold UAVs to conduct lethal attacks.
Islamic State (ISIS)
In August 2014, the Islamic State released a video displaying what appears to be drone surveillance footage from over a Syrian military base in Raqqa governorate. Though the actual drone cannot be seen, it appears to be a small quadcopter which are common on the civilian marketplace. Though the Islamic State has not declared owning more drones, given their low cost and high availability, it is likely that more small surveillance UAVs are in their possession.
Reports emerged in December 2015, that ISIS was packing small tactical UAVs with explosives to use as improvised suicide drones. It was not until October 2016 that one of these explosive-packed UAVs successfully was used by the terror group, killing two Iraqi Kurdish fighters and wounding two French special operation advisors.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Friday unveiled its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, while the country’s president vowed that Tehran would press ahead with its missile program in defiance of U.S. demands to the contrary.
The United States handed over the first eight of 32 Bradley M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) on 14 August, in a ceremony held at Beirut’s port. Speaking during the ceremony, US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said the Bradleys represented an investment of more than USD100 million that will “provide the Lebanese […]
Algeria’s acquisition of Buk-M2E surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems has effectively been confirmed by the August issue of the People’s National Army’s (ANP) El-Djeichmagazine. The publication included an article covering the ‘Majd 2017’ exercise held in July, which was supported by a collage of Algerian military equipment – including a transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicle […]
Russia is set to supply Egypt with 15 Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters by the end of this year, helicopter manufacturer Russian Helicopters told Russian state news agency Sputnik. The delivery is part of a deal to supply Cairo with 46 Alligators, Andrey Boginsky, CEO of Moscow-based rotorcraft manufacturing company Russian Helicopters, told Sputnik on Tuesday […]
The Boeing Co.-Philadelphia, Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $222,549,505 firm-fixed-price modification (P00069) to contract W58RGZ-13-C-0002 for eight each CH-47F new build helicopters to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC). Work will be performed in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2021. Fiscal 2017 foreign military […]
An unarmed Iranian drone buzzed an American Super Hornet fighter jet as it circled an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. A statement released by the military’s Central Command said that despite repeated radio calls demanding that Iran keep the drone clear of American flight operations in the vicinity of the […]
Turkey’s presidential spokesman, İbrahim Kalin, has said there were only a few minor issues left to be resolved before an agreement with Russia on the purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air-missile (SAM) systems.
The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) has received into the service the first two of eight BAE Systems Hawk Mk 166 advanced jet trainers (AJTs), the government announced on 29 July.
Turkey has made progress in plans to procure an S-400 missile defense system from Russia and signatures have been signed, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. “Steps have been taken and signatures signed with Russia concerning the S-400s. God willing we will see the S-400s in our country,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling AK […]
The first of the 12 Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighters and eight Hawk Mk 166 advanced jet trainers ordered by Oman were “formally presented” to the customer on 15 May, BAE Systems announced. The event was held at the company’s Warton production and testing facility in the United Kingdom and attended by Sayyid Badr bin Saud […]
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported February 23 that it had downed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Mediterranean after it was launched from the Gaza Strip. According to IDF sources, an Israeli F-16 shot down the UAV, which it said belonged to Hamas, before it was able to cross into the country’s airspace. […]
President Barack Obama, defending the recent Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), insists that his negotiators are providing an alternative to war. But the president is only referring to how the deal will defer a nuclear showdown. While that can is kicked down the road for decade, the agreement contains a […]
Weapons are pouring into the Middle East at an unprecedented rate. The Pentagon recently announced that it would sell six tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to Israel for $1.3 billion, American hardware (including Apache helicopters) is being rushed to the Iraqi government to help in its battle against al Qaeda, and Washington has also restored military aid to Egypt after a brief hiatus. But Uncle […]