Over the course of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, roadside Improvised Explosive Devices have become the scourge of the United States military’s ordinance disposal units. The IED is a staple weapon of asymmetric warfare tactics, providing an inexpensive, easy to build and difficult to detect weapon capable of inflicting painful losses on a technologically and numerically superior enemy. With the evolution and proliferation of drone technology, ordinance disposal units are now facing a new and worrisome threat, the Flying IED.
This situation was brought to the forefront when a small drone crashed into a tree on the South Lawn of the White House in January. A radar system designed to detect flying objects such as airplanes, missiles and larger military drones failed to pick up the small two foot diameter quadcopter drone as it entered the restricted area around the White House. The drone was operated by a government employee for recreational purposes and was not deemed a threat to the First Family but the event drew the attention of military planners and IED disposal specialists.