An Al Qaeda sympathizer was arrested who allegedly planned drone attacks in Washington. An expanding market and improved technology could make small drones more available to anti-US terrorists.
A terrorist attack on the nation’s capital using remote-control model airplanes to deliver bombs, as an American Al Qaeda sympathizer arrested in Massachusetts this week is alleged to have planned, may seem far-fetched or silly.
And now the emerging international market for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, is exploding, bringing down the cost and expanding the availability of highly capable drone aircraft that could be rigged to deliver explosives, biological or chemical weapons with extreme accuracy – and be difficult or impossible to stop, experts on the subject say.
Groups could smuggle drones into the country or launch them from a ship offshore. Thanks to the development of highly accurate GPS flight systems, even kit-built airplanes could be rigged with explosives and sent hundreds of miles at low altitude, below radar, and crashed into a target, several UAV threat studies have found.
At present, however, the UAV is still America's friend – a potent weapon in the war on terrorism now being deployed to monitor and fight Al Qaeda affiliates from secret drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the Washington Post recently reported.
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