The Oxford Research Group's Remote Control Project has urged the UK to prepare for violent attacks conducted through drones. The think tank's report suggests that commercial drones carrying bombs could target specific, high-security places or individuals in the country.
Commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could be converted into flying bombs to potentially target nuclear power stations or even the British prime minister's car, the Oxford Research Group's report said. The report, aptly titled The Hostile Use of Drones by Non-State Actors Against British Targets, was published by researchers at the group's Remote Control Project. The lead author of the report, Chris Abbot, outlined in the report that "drones are a game changer in the wrong hands".
The report highlighted that "drones will be used as simple, affordable and effective airborne improvised explosive devices". It also pointed out easy targets. Nuclear power stations, foreign embassies, a G7 summit or even vehicles of high-level political and security officials were listed as likely targets, the Guardian reported.
The authors of the report analysed over 200 commercial drones available in the market, almost all of which could be converted into a bomb-carrier with a few simple modifications. Cautioning the government about the magnitude of the issue, the report said: "The technology of remote-control warfare is impossible to control."
The report brings to light the fact that drones are already being widely used by violent extremists to carry out attacks in various conflict-ridden areas of the world. The study claims: "Islamic State [Isis] is reportedly obsessed with launching a synchronised multi-drone attack on large numbers of people in order to recreate the horrors of 9/11."
Abbot, who is also a visiting research fellow at Bradford University's School of Social and International Studies, said that gone are the days when drone-led attacks were limited to state militaries. Instead, now, violent extremists, criminals and even corporate and activist groups have easy access to UAVs and are capable of launching a drone attack against British targets.
Commenting on the urgent need to ramp up security measures, he added: "The government needs to take this threat seriously and commit to a range of countermeasures that still allow for legitimate commercial and personal use."