— Alex Mello (@AlexMello02) January 11, 2017
The DJI Phantom is a fantastic photography tool, but unfortunately, it's being used with a much different purpose in the Middle East.
ISIS has purchased thousands of widely-available consumer drones to drop ordnance on US and its allies. Vox reports that General Raymond Thomas, US Special Operations Command, said it is the most daunting problem faced by his troops over the last year. In fact, he said “About five or six months ago, there was a day when the Iraqi effort nearly came to a screeching halt, where literally over 24 hours there were 70 drones in the air.” Two French paratroopers were killed in one such attack.
[x_alert type=”success”]Warren Sheehan, an Improve Photography reader, made a great point. Why hasn't DJI done anything to block takeoff of the drones in the region? Obviously, the terrorists could still alter the drones to make them take off, but it would lose the benefit of GPS stabilization.[/x_alert]
It appears from photos available online, that the DJI Phantom seems to be the preferred drone of ISIS.
The drones are not only used to drop ordnance but also to spy on military installations before an attack.
In the video below from New York Times reporter Ben C. Solomon, an ISIS drone can be seen hovering over the military installation and then dropping a grenade which hits an Iraqi special forces soldier. The relevant portion of the video starts at 1 minute in. The drone in the sky is small, but appears to have the coloring and form factor of another Phantom.