Drone Warfare

Podcast: Israel is the only state taking the drone threat seriously – Professor David Dunn

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An Iron Dome surface-to-air missile is fired to intercept a rocket fired into Israel from Gaza.

Israel’s “very expensive, very elaborate Iron Dome” stops aerial systems targeting its nuclear facilities. (Image:Israel Defense Forces/Flickr)

A British academic and expert in international studies says the biggest threat of drone technology is its potential use by terrorists and other non-state actors with “malign intent”.

Yet Israel is “perhaps the only state in the world who have taken the drone threat very seriously”, says Professor David Dunn.

The University of Birmingham academic told the Bureau’s podcast the “biggest potential use of drone technology is not by traditional militaries” but by non-state actors.

Israel has “a very expensive, very elaborate Iron Dome system” to autonomously intercept rockets and drones trying to kill civilians or “penetrate the outer sarcophagus of the nuclear at Dimona and therefore cause a nuclear event”.

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Dunn believes other states should take the threat seriously too. It is entirely possible for someone to fly a drone “from some part of Ireland into either the Selafield nuclear power station or into the nuclear submarine base at Faslane. Or indeed flown low across the channel from a suburb in Paris into a public building in London.

“During the Olympics this threat was taken very seriously,” he continued. After the games, “those defences have been unpacked. The questions is whether that was prudent.”

Also in this episode, the Bureau’s Alice K Ross reports on the bloodiest drone strike to hit Pakistan in more than a year.

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