On January 4, the Syrian Nation Defense Forces (NDF) shot down two DIY armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) near the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia governorate. The UAVs were shot down by NDF fighters with a light machine gun, according to the NDF media wing.
The NDF said that the wingspan of the two downed UAVs is slightly more than 1 meter and that they are made of wood, styrofoam and plastic. The UAVs were powered by diesel engines feed by a fuel tank mad of light plastic too.
Each UAV was armed with at least two local made small projectiles equipped with impact fuses taken from mortar shells. The two UAVs managed to drop some of these projectiles over the town of Qardaha in the eastern Lattakia countryside and the city of Jableh near the Hmeimim airbase before they were shot down. However, the bombardment didn’t result in any casualties.
Syrian pro-government activists suggested that the UAVs were made by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) with a help from ex-ISIS experts or experts from the Palestinian Hamas Movement that used a similar concept during 2014 Gaza war.
Some speculations circulate that a similar UAV could be used in the attack on Hmeimim airbase on December 31, 2017. However, many experts doubt that such primitive UAVs could penetrate a variety of Russian jamming systems that are active inside and around the airbase.