“The incident in Saudi Arabia may entail ‘tightening the screws’ for the industry of unmanned systems”

An expert about the attack of drones on a refinery in Saudi Arabia and the turning of drones into weapons

Drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais provinces on Saturday sparked fires. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak commented on the incident and said that because of it Russia can strengthen the security of energy facilities. Realnoe Vremya turned to the expert in the field of unmanned aircraft systems, UAV.RU editor-in-chief Denis Fedutinov, who spoke about how the use of drones in the world is regulated and with the help of which manipulations the drone turns into a weapon.

“Unmanned systems are a part of the modern world”

How would you assess the attack in Saudi Arabia? How dangerous is this precedent?

In this example, we can clearly observe the progress in terms of creating cost-effective unmanned systems, as well as in terms of tactical methods of their application. Unmanned systems with all the positive and negative aspects that they carry — this is already part of the modern world.

What can be the consequences for regulation?

There is no doubt that this incident is going to be studied by the relevant authorities responsible for security and law and order, in various countries of the world, as well as the previous attacks committed with the use of drones have certainly been analyzed. As a result, a set of measures aimed at parrying the corresponding threats and minimizing the consequences of such use of UAVs is likely to be proposed.

Photo: vestifinance.ru
Energy facilities, obviously, are among, so to speak, the “attractive” targets for enemy attacks. At the same time, it is obvious that the list of such sensitive targets is not limited to refineries alone

What about the civilian use of drones?

Unfortunately, for the industry of developers and operators of unmanned systems, this situation can lead to “tightening the screws”, both in terms of the availability of UAV systems themselves and in terms of the possibility of their use.

By the way, in the civil field, they can be used for aerial photography in the interests of geodesy and cartography, agriculture, television and film industry.

They can also be used in the delivery of various goods. Besides, with the help of drones, signals can be retransmitted, for example, in order to ensure coverage of cellular and other communications over specified areas.

“UAVs capable of carrying weapons have been repeatedly used in Iraq and Syria”

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak made the statement that Russia can strengthen the security of energy facilities due to drone attacks on refineries in Saudi Arabia. How had such objects been protected from drone attacks before?

Energy facilities, obviously, are among, so to speak, the “attractive” targets for enemy attacks. At the same time, it is obvious that the list of such sensitive targets is not limited to refineries alone. It is very wide, which makes it difficult to protect them from such attacks.

Photo: mil.ru
UAVs capable of carrying weapons have been repeatedly used in military operations in Iraq and Syria. It is worth noting that these were mainly civilian models, often referred to as “hobby-class”, adapted for military tasks, or artisanal drones using components available on the commercial market

Could you tell us how the use of drones is regulated abroad and in Russia?

The problem of using UAVs in the common air space is quite young, since, in fact, the civilian field of application of drones itself is new. Therefore, the process of forming the legal framework necessary for the legal use of unmanned vehicles has not yet been completed.

How is a weapon made out of a drone? Do you know about the facts of attacks (perhaps on a more modest scale) with the use of drones?

UAVS capable of carrying weapons have been repeatedly used in military operations in Iraq and Syria. It is worth noting that these were mainly civilian models, often referred to as “hobby-class”, adapted for military tasks, or artisanal drones using components available on the commercial market. One of the most famous cases is a group attack of UAV terrorists on the Khmeimim Air Base, used by the Russian military.

By Lina Sarimova
Analytics