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ROLLOUT REPORT ARCHIVES

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The UAS incidents recorded in this month’s Red Six rollup clearly show the degree to which the use of drones for military operations and criminal activity is spreading throughout the world. This report captures drone and counter drone incidents in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, North and South America, and Southern and Southeast Asia and highlights UAS operations by adversarial militaries, terrorists, and rebels, as well as the illegal activities of criminal groups.

The twin epicenters of drone warfare in this month’s report are Eastern Europe and Israel. In Russo-Ukrainian War, both sides are striving to evolve and expand their UAS capabilities. Ukraine is using unmanned aircraft to bring the war to Russia with deep attacks against infrastructure and military targets. To this end, the Ukrainians turned civilian ultralight planes into remote control aircraft for an attack on a Russian drone factory in Tatarstan 1,200 km inside Russia. On the other side, Russia continues to use a mix of missiles and drones for heavy strikes upon Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Both sides are seeking ways to mitigate countermeasures and restrictions on their drones, such as Ukraine’s use of specially made radio receivers on its FPV drones and Russia’s satellite anti-jamming technology. This report covers accusations by Russian bloggers that Ukraine is modifying the Starlink user terminals it has to enable its drones to bypass geographic limiters emplaced by SpaceX.

In the Middle East, Iran, Palestinian Hamas, Houthi rebels, and Hezbollah are all using drones to attack Israel and its allies. On 13 April, Iran launched 300 drones and missiles against Israel in retaliation for Israel’s assassination of Tehran’s top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. While Israel, with help from the U.S., Britain, and Jordan, completely stopped the Iranian attack, Iran’s ally Hezbollah was able to evade Israel’s air defenses several days later with an explosives-laden drone. The drone which Hezbollah launched from Lebanon struck a village in Northern Israel causing many casualties. On the Arabian Peninsula, the Houthi-Movement continued its attempts to use drones and missiles to interdict commercial navigation lanes but were met by the defenses of the U.S. led coalition. And in Syria, a U.S. soldier received the nickname Ace by his sergeant major after using his counter drone system to defeat five militant drones.

In the Sudanese Civil War, both the government’s armed forces and the rebel Rapid Support Forces are using drones and counter drone technology. While in Myanmar, rebels fighting the military junta launched a large-scale drone attack against the capital and have begun to use FPV UAS in their attacks on junta forces. In South America, a combined task force seized a large cache of IED munitions made specifically for drones by the Segunda Marguetalia terrorist group.

There were multiple instances of the criminal use of drones. Arrests made by sheriffs in Florida USA stopped a criminal gang that was using drones for prison smuggling and included a plan to use a drone to get a weapon into a prison in a murder-for-hire scheme. In England, a husband and wife team were convicted of crimes for using drones over 100 times to smuggle contraband into prisons. In Georgia USA, a drone repair shop owner was arrested for allegedly helping the state’s largest ever prison smuggling gang.