Isis' recent Mosul airport combat with Iraqi forces shows how it is strengthening its high-tech weapons. A reporter covering the encounter on ground has detailed how the Islamic militant group used a DJI drone and badminton supplies to make an effective bomber.
Sara Hussein, reporter for the Agence France-Presse took to Twitter to show pictures of a quadcopter weaponised drone that was buzzing over their heads for a long time until the Iraqi Army brought it down. The drone as shown in the tweeted pictures were armed with small bombs made from 40-mm grenade—used to fire infantry grenade launchers— and the bodies of the bombs were made of PVC pipe with tails from badminton shuttlecocks.
The drone used here belonged to Chinese firm DJI, the leading company in the civilian-drone industry. DJI drones are easily available everywhere, most of all online.
The model used by the militant group in the latest encounter was the Matrice 100, which is an industrial drone especially targeted at drone developers and sold as part of a "Smarter Farming Kit." The entire kit sells for $8,300 (£6,661) in the US and the drone alone is available for a little over $3,100. Although it is not military grade drone it has 35 minutes of flight time per charge and enough power to carry up to 1.2 kg of additional payload that includes plug in accessories like bomb release motors.
Although Isis has used drones as bombers before, the sophistication level has improved as the Matrice 100 is a far superior drone than some other regular models like the DJI Phantom drones which have been loaded with single bombs.
Open source intelligence site Bellingcat in its detailed study of use of drones by militant groups had said although a lot of terrorist groups have used drones as weapons, Isis are the first to use improvised attack drones on such a scale. Moreover, they continue to modify their existing ammunition as in when new technology hits the market.