First Domestic Drone Attack Documented


Three national security agencies have issued a joint intelligence bulletin documenting what they claim is the first attempt at terrorism by drone in the U.S. ABC News got hold of the internal bulletin written jointly by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center concerning the discovery of a drone that crashed short of its target but had been modified to try to take out part of Pennsylvania’s power grid. “This is the first known instance of a modified UAS [unmanned aerial system] likely being used in the United States to specifically target energy infrastructure,” ABC reported the bulletin as saying. “We assess that a UAS recovered near an electrical substation was likely intended to disrupt operations by creating a short circuit to cause damage to transformers or distribution lines, based on the design and recovery location.”

The drone, a widely available DJI Mavic 2, was rigged with two pieces of rope holding each end of a thick piece of copper wire. The intent was apparently to fly the drone to bridge two of the high voltage conductors in a power substation. The drone crashed on the roof of a building adjacent to the substation. Whoever was behind the plot had stripped all means of identification, including its onboard camera, from the drone and that might have led to the crash.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. It’s not terrorism, it’s just more of the same destruction that was promoted (and protected) under the guise of BLM and Antifa. So yea, who did not see more coming?

    • Or the proud boys or any nutjob right wing militia group too…right? It’s sad you don’t even realize how ridiculous you sound.

        • Point is, none of that makes sense…including the Proud Boys. Not sure why you would defend them though. They are pretty douchey where I live.

          • Point is BLM and Antifa ARE currently doing strikes against infrastructure. That’s why the suspicion is this is yet another local BLM wanna-be doing what they do. Destroy.

      • Your comment is confusing.

        Certainly right-wing nuts are active. But ‘antifa’ is more likely as eco-bleeps.

        ‘BLM’ is broad-brush, but key people in it are Marxist in beliefs and activism, ‘antifa’ is Marxist.

        Could be someone testing a method for a bigger attack.

    • Gee whiz ART, could it have been those trump flag waving morons who tried to trash our Constitution and install a tyrant?

      • After 2 recent attacks by BLM on rail tracks in my area, I call a spade a spade. I’m not afraid, I’m just apolitical in what is going on.

        • I hate comments like this. I can’t find anything but a 6 year old story about how a BLM march might slow rail traffic in Minneapolis. If people just let comments like this go, passers by might accept it as fact that BLM is conducting terror attacks on railroads.

          Did Tucker Carlson make this up out of thin air? Again?

  2. Disgruntled “Power System Worker” …..recently fired…..didn’t get their entitled huge retirement payout?

    Could be anyone.

  3. Well, it will not be the last. They just tried to take out the Iraq Prime Minister with a drone bomb. They whoever they are, could set the whole US on fire with a few drone fire starters. It never ends.

  4. If the perp can be caught … they should be tied to one of those new Japanese drones and dropped onto the very same HV transformers that they were trying to short out. THAT’LL get their attention.

  5. Ya know, I don’t even have to read past the title of the article to know that the AWOGs will come out huffing and puffing. “BLM”, “ANTIFA”, “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

  6. Now, AWOGs with guns and/or explosives do give me pause. Weapons have a way of stifling debate. Can you say Oklahoma City, or January 6th?