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Terrorism

By Ron Bartsch

I

f 900g of weapons-grade anthrax were dropped from a drone at a height of 100m just upwind of a large city of 1.5 million people, all inhabitants would become infected. Even with the most aggressive medical measures that can realistically be taken during an epidemic, a study estimates that approximately 123,000 people would die—40 times more fatalities than from the 2001 World Trade Centre attack. Chilling Scenarios The chilling scenario above was one that was put forward more than a decade ago by Eugene Miasnikov in his report “Threat of Terrorism Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” (2005). If drones in the hands of terrorists back in 2005 caused a plausible threat, imagine the threat that exists today. As science and technological innovation continues to rampage we often lose sight of how much the world has changed—and in this instance, the extent to which terrorists

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will go to in order to achieve their objectives. With this is mind, consider the following modern-day scenario. A terrorist organisation parks a small removals van in a crowded street of a major city under the flight path of a nearby international airport. The van’s canopy has an open top but the sides are high and its payload of half a dozen high-performance quadcopter drones are obscured from the view of passers-by. To each drone is attached an explosive device—not dissimilar to those worn by suicide terrorists. The day and time chosen have been well planned to coincide with the runway being used for take-off. The targeted aircraft—an Airbus A380—is departing with a full payload of passengers and fuel, possibly in excess of 500 passengers and over 250 tonnes of fuel. The aircraft lifts off and the drones are launched remotely and rapidly ascend. With the aid of the high-resolution cameras on-board, the controllers are able to direct the drones into the path of the A380’s four enormous engines. The situation described above is not inconceivable.

Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine - Special Edition  
Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine - Special Edition  

This special introductory edition of the Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine has been compiled from current, as well as recent articles p...