Photo: Is this the first Taliban-made drone, ever?

May 19 2012 - 4 Comments

Update May 19, 2012 21.18 GMT

The following pictures, courtesy of the Helmand Governor’s Media Center, show what looks like a small drone that was discovered along with poppy, small arms, ammunitions and other materials used to make improvised explosive devices (IED), by the Afghanistan’s National Department of Security in the Nar-e-Seraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 19.

Although the size is very small, the remotely controlled plane could be, if not the first, the most recent attempt by the Taliban to build and operate a minidrone for short range reconnaissance purposes (although, based on the images, it’s not clear where the camera is installed).

I haven’t found other images supposedly showing Taliban drones, but I can’t rule out the possibility that some other primitive robots have been either tested or operated by the insurgents in Afghanistan.

As Royal Aeronautical Society’s Tim Robinson suggests, rather than a new type it could be a recovered/modified/refitted/copied NATO one. In particular, the Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk is almost identical to the one confiscated on May 19. If it’s a NATO UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), whether the drone was airworthy and operative has still to be verified.

If you have more details about the drone showed in these pictures or previous types believed to be operated by the Taliban, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Courtesy image HGMC

  • Gabriel

    I had one of those….thats an old Graupner R/C sailplane…see the folding prop…
    Like this, but older:
    http://www.graupner.de/en/products/d5a8649f-8296-4504-a5ef-e0539b76c3b8/6297.100/product.aspx
    -Gabriel

  • Auchmal

    Thats a Lookheed Martin Desert Hawk III

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/15110856@N02/6880554278/in/photostream/

    have they removed the flight cam on the left wing?

  • http://www.defensieforum.nl/Forum/viewblog.html;u=5206 Ronald Elzenga

    It doesn’t look like a flyable one…more a recovered US one, Desert Hawk III, that they recovered and kept for show. When really (re)building drone’s I think they will not use them for UAV/observation purposes…where is the controls/monitor-consule?…. but for suicide bomb attacks on NATO-bases.

  • http://www.defensieforum.nl/Forum/viewblog.html;u=5206 Ronald Elzenga

    suicide means of course not with a pilot on board ;-) so skip that word.