On May 15, Russian journalist Oleg Blokhin released more photos showing the remains of a DIY unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was shot down while it was attempting to attack Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions in northern Hama a day earlier.
The UAV, which is made of wood, aluminum, styrofoam and plastic, is identical to the type used in many attacks on the Russian Hmeimim airbase during last year.
However, the new photos revealed that the UAV has a compartment behind its diesel engine where steel balls were glued to the frame. This type of steel balls is typical used by terrorist groups as the shrapnel elements in explosive vests and improvised-explosive device (IED).
The presence of these steel balls suggests that an explosive charge was installed right behind the engine. This could mean that this type of UAVs was re-designed to attack its target by crashing directly into it, or by exploding over it.
The original DIY UAVs used by Syrian militants were armed with several locally-made small projectiles equipped with mortar impact fuses. The UAVs would drop these projectiles over their target and then try to return to their operators or simply crash.
Blokhin’s new photos show that the militants have re-designed their UAVs, likely as a result of the failure of their recent attacks. This change from “armed UAVs” into “suicide UAVs” will not likely make any difference, as these primitive UAVs are already vulnerable to jamming and air-defense fire.