I read with a little alarm and much interest about the drone attack on the Saudi Arabian Abqaiq Oil Processing Facility and other infrastrucutre recently. Big deal I say. Yes, it is a big deal, the Abqaiq facility with a capacity of 7 million barrels per day and 5 million throughput is shut down for now! That gets my attention! The Houthis of Yemen are taking credit while the US claims that Iran is behind the attack. It turns out that the Iranians have drones with a theoretical range of almost a thousand miles!!
I say theoretical because the Iranians do not have satellites so they have to use ground stations to control their drones which limits their effective range to 100 to 200 miles depending on what you read.
Still not worried about it? How about the following video which shoes Iranian Drone video of an American Aircraft Carrier taken from directly over the ship?
Don’t get too excited. Iran has great social media people and there is a lot of speculation that the video was faked using video available on the internet. If you have ever looked at Iranian Military social media you will know that they are very enthusiastic but not convincing, and I am not convinced.
What I get excited about is that Iran has well developed drone technology that have used in battle in Syria and other places. hundreds of times. Meet the second generation Shahed 129 drone, their most advanced drone.
According to Wikipedia, this aircraft attempted an attack on coalition personnel but failed. Also, the US Air Force shot down one down. It can carry about to four bombs or missiles, and/or conduct surveillance. From what I read a lot of the US sanctions and embargoes have been efforts to keep the Iranians from increasing the capabilities of their drone technologies.
The US is accusing the Iranians of launching the attacks on Abqaiq. This all points to Asymetrical Warfare which involves war between combatants with vastly unequal capabilities. This seems to be something that American leadership consistently does not take into account and we suffer as a result. The Iranians, the Houthis, Al Qaida, whoever, would be stupid to try and match up the United States and our Allies in stand warfare. They would be wiped out. So they develop other, cheaper strategies that tend to drive us crazy, IED’s for example, that neutralize our advantage.
You always have to be ready for unexpected is what I have learned over the years and one is most vulnerable when you feel most invulnerable. Somebody may not be playing by the rules you set. They will have their own rules. It appears that ten inexpensive drones easily defeated a world class air defense system and shut off five million barrels per day of oil from the world’s energy supply.