Twenty years after the worst attack to ever occur on U.S. soil, it’s not just large, populated passenger planes that keep officials and experts up at night, but also the threat of smaller, readily available unmanned aerial systems capable of carrying deadly payloads through the skies of an unsuspecting nation.

Drones are not tomorrow’s weapons of mass destruction. They’re here today, and the technology required to fashion such a device is only getting cheaper, smarter and more accessible.

One U.S. military official who requested anonymity paints a potential nightmare scenario involving small drones, referred to as unmanned aerial systems, unmanned aircraft systems, or simply, UAS.

“I kind of wonder what could you do if you had a couple of small UAS and you flew into a crowded stadium,” the U.S. military official told Newsweek. “That could cause a lot of damage and it’s a scenario that could potentially be in play.”

“This tool today is so easy, and small drones, you just really order them in and you’ve got yourself like a guided precision missile,” — an Israeli security official told Newsweek

While “no specific knowledge” of an active threat was discussed, the U.S. military official said that “there is concern given the proliferation of small, portable drones, that explosive drones could cause a mass casualty event.”


It wouldn’t be the first time the nation had been caught off guard by a possible danger looming right in front of authorities.

“It’s just like I had no specific knowledge before 9/11 that people could hijack planes and crash into buildings, but Tom Clancy wrote a book about it,” the U.S. military official said.

When the political thriller “Debt of Honor” was released in 1994 depicting a hijacked airliner targeting the U.S. Capitol, the concept of an aerial suicide raid had largely been confined in the national consciousness to the experience of Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II. It wasn’t until nearly 3,000 were killed on September 11, 2001 that what had been an eventuality became a reality.

But when it comes to UAS, the age of tactical drone warfare is already upon us. Shortly after 9/11, the United States became the first country to truly weaponize drones, fitting them with precision missiles that became a staple of the “War on Terror.” (Newsweek)


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