Home » Wars » Afghan Update » The Taliban’s First Drone? Not Quite

The Taliban’s First Drone? Not Quite

by John Reed on May 21, 2012

So, some pictures of a micro-UAV that was found during a raid on insurgent supply cache in Helmand Province, Afghanistan recently emerged on the Internet prompting some to wonder if this example of one of the Taliban or al Qaeda’s first ever homemade drones. I can almost guarantee it’s not. What I can (almost) guarantee is that the little drone shown above is a Lockheed Martin-made Desert Hawk drone that went down — likely due to an accident — while being operated by NATO forces. Remember, UAVs crash pretty frequently and small, cheap ones like the Desert Hawk can go down for a number of reasons ranging from bad weather to straying too far from the unit that launched it and losing its connection with the laptop that’s controlling it.

The local insurgent crew likely scooped up the little plane as a cool trophy — just looking at the pics above you can see that it doesn’t appear to be in flight-worthy shape. Even if the inusrgents could repair the obvious physical damage to the drone, they most likely don’t have access to the computer software and communications gear needed to make it work.

Click through the jump for more pics of the captured and then recaptured drone along with some pics of Lockheed’s Desert Hawk that I took at last year’s Modern Day Marine expo.

Compare the drone above to these pics of Lockheed’s Desert Hawk.

H/t the Aviationist.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

tiger May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

They can buy better planes from a Tower Hobbies catalog.

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roger December 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Those Hobbie planes look really nice but they dont stay up 1 10th the time these do. the secret is the battery and you are NOT going to find that battery in a RC shop.

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F18_TEXREP May 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

They Do have drone technology. It is tethered buy a string. unfortunately it only flies in circles…

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DGR May 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Who is the wise one that decided to pick up a piece of US military hardware that has a probability of having some kind of intact tracking system? And then bring it back to your safehouse/weapon cache. I swear these guys are a few bricks short of a full load.

"if you didnt put it there, dont move it"

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Josh May 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Well we apparently were not smart enough to do that with the downed RQ-170 in Iran so maybe they figured we wouldnt do the same with a much smaller and cheaper drone?

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kevin May 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

Well, seeing that Nato & the USA are explicitely on their collective way out, I'm a bit puzzled by all the chest-thumping about the taliban and assorted afghan bad boyz being "dense", "goat lovers", etc, etc…
Seems to me that the "smelly brown people" so many here and elsewhere love to make fun of, well, those fellows, they successfully out-WILLed us crackers, didn't they?
Whatever was thrown at them, they could take it, and stil came back for more… even managing to "rule" the battlefield, so to speak, with western forces being on the defensive and not deciding the tempo. Aaaannddd… guess who'll be back in power as soon as the last foreign soldier gets out?

A lot to say, I guess, but, putting a serious hold on the hubris would be a GREAT start. People, they won (or at least, didn't lose), stop the smug condescending.

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Yellow Devil May 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I don't know kevin, you sound pretty smug yourself. Let's face it, with all this talk about Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires, their strength cannot be backed up when it comes to ruling themselves. That is why they have been repeatedly conquered and attacked by almost every neighboring (and non-neighboring) country since the dawn of civilization. Doesn't matter if it was the Macedonian Greeks, Persians, Mongols, Russians, Brits, etc. I'm sure when NATO leaves, the whole place will go up in perpetual conflict like a never ending circle toward oblivion.

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Al Yates May 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Who said we weren't smart enough to lay dog and read the instruments on "Iran's" captured drone? :D

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Lance May 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Anyone who has a RC plane and mini cameras can make a recon UAV not surprised AQ has some. Im sure Russian and China have them (alot more advance too).

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McPosterdoor May 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Are those big bags of opium Lockheed Martin's as well? That's one hell of a picnic they are planning, great buffet table.

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anthony November 7, 2012 at 6:37 am

It looks to me you are on the right track! I hope the 60" aint returning when CIA forces openlly admitted smuggling opium to Coptn a black area in LA to so called capture other dealers right after reagan announcent his war on drugs wich we are in war with now!

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Guest May 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

My Parrot UAV controlled by my iPad would serve them better.

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Billy May 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Taliban throw down mountain with camera and they got a UAV!

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gunslinger6 May 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I am looking for the video to post link, but I have seen video of Marines firing at Taliban UAV's with 240's. Shows how close they are to some OP's

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Pat May 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Lolz

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ltfunk May 22, 2012 at 3:06 am

The big advantage the Taliban and Al Qauada have is that they can buy technology on the open market. There are lots of examples of them getting better stuff then our troops because of that. We are limited to buying from defense contractors.

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Vaporhead May 22, 2012 at 7:14 am

You don't know what you are talking about. Our troops have some of the best weaponry available. Please tells us some examples of the Taliban having better equipment then the NATO forces.

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Kevin May 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

PKM? Rpg? Lighter, more plentiful, and as effective if not more, than whatever the ISAF can field (if only in the more "bang for thebuck" department).
Hell, even in some respect, Ye olde Lee Enfield SMLE?

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bbabbitt May 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Yeah, and apparently we buy parts from our enemies to keep out weapons in tip-top condition. (see: http://www.military.com/news/article/chinese-fake

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Chief Lee May 22, 2012 at 8:58 am

The Taliban and AQ DO have drones, but not flying ones. Their drones are would-be martyrs who strap on a bomb and try to take others with them.

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shawn1999 May 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

Lol- their drones are MAVs (Manned air vehicles): Hey, Achmed? Yeah Mohamad? Sit here and hold this. OK! (Mohamed pulls a lever and Achmed is catapulted in the air with an IED in hand)

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John Larsen May 22, 2012 at 9:35 am

The " drones " are the greatest invention since " sliced bread " if it saves just one American lifel, let's keep hoping the Talliban or Al Qauada never get the smarts to put one together.

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Morty May 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

I have a spy plane and i bought it out of an Estes rockets catalog. made some homade rockets for it to.

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Infidel4LIFE May 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

They use kites.

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bbabbitt May 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Do you think our imposter-in-chief will ask politely for this one back? The tactic worked really well in Iran.

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Elliot_E9 May 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

OK, smart guy; what i your tactic of choice for the UAV the Persians have? Bomb them? Get real…

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InKandahar May 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Perhaps the RQ-170 was simply a Trojan Horse…..we'll probably never know the real reason why one of them is in Iranian hands.

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Erich May 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

They are the same but can be reversed engineered and fixed up but this is really no more than a large flying model you can buy at an R/C shop

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PORTER FIELD May 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

WHY WOULD THEY EVEN NEED A DRONE??? THEY CAN GRAB A KID OFF THE STREET, PAY HIS MOM $20 , GIVE HIM A BOMB IN A BAG AND TELL HIM TO GO VISIT THE US SOLDIERS…..INSTANT DRONE!!!

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tom breidel May 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

People its only a matter of time before our drones will bite us in the ass.
Everything on the market can and will be used against us.

Its the Law of "what go around comes around"!

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Medic10Zulu June 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Well I think there should be a fail safe soon as it goes down and you still have contact there should be like a little piece of eexplosives inside of it and they could detonate it and that is so the drones internals and maybe it externals are destroyed

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Robert June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

JUST BE PREPARED TO DEFEND YOUR GROUND.

IF A DRONE FLY ARROUND YOUR PROPERTY SHOOT IT DOWN WITH A 12 GAGE.

JUST LIKE SHOOTING WITH SKEET OR TRAP. JUST A FLYING TOY.

Pathfinder22554

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Frank July 2, 2012 at 1:08 am

As soon as I looked at the picture of that drone I laughed that little toy is funny I should buy my cousin one at toys r us

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bennyliuwantara January 11, 2013 at 5:12 am

better you use mininuc to abolish them all, it is good for the future of human being inthe world

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