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

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

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.