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Reports of incidents caused by unintentional or intentional misuse of drones are increasing rapidly: the sites targeted for potential attack or simple reconnaissance are of various types, from critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, airports, and precinct houses to high-traffic sites such as stadiums.


The attacks that can potentially be carried out with drones are very varied, the best known of which include:

  • riprese di siti governativi o commerciali – ricognizioni su siti sensibili per pianificare un attacco successivo o per acquisire dettagli riguardo brevetti industriali o proprietà intellettuale di siti commerciali;
  • trasporto e contrabbando di prodotti illeciti – un caso tipico è quello dell’utilizzo dei droni per trasportare armi, droga, cellulari all’interno di zone protette come le case circondariali;
  • attacco armato – il drone viene equipaggiato con sostanze esplosive, chimiche o biologiche in grado di arrecare un danno con il semplice spargimento o attraverso la collisione con un target prefissato;
  • disturbo o blocco di attività critiche – ad esempio l’invio di droni in zone aeroportuali che possono causare, nei casi più seri, anche il blocco delle attività aeroportuali.
  • filming of government or commercial sites – reconnaissance of sensitive sites to plan a subsequent attack or to acquire details regarding industrial patents or intellectual property of commercial sites;
  • transportation and smuggling of illicit goods – a typical case is the use of drones to transport weapons, drugs, and cell phones within protected areas such as compound homes;
  • armed attack – the drone is equipped with explosive, chemical, or biological substances capable of doing damage by simple scattering or through collision with a predetermined target;
  • disruption or blocking of critical activities – for example, sending drones into airport areas that can cause, in the most serious cases, even the blocking of airport activities.

Types of drone

The range and type of attack that can be carried out varies depending on the model of drone used. The following are the most common ones:

  • multi-rotor – drones with 4,6,8 propellers, with vertical takeoff/landing capability and stationary flight in a defined position, battery-powered with limited flight time typically around 30 minutes and a range of a few hundred meters to a few kilometers;
  • single-rotor – helicopters with vertical takeoff/landing capability, consume less power than their predecessors, have greater load capacity, and longer range (from a few hundred meters to several kilometers). Available with both battery and combustion engine power;
  • Fixed-wing – drones similar to small airplanes that are not capable of vertical takeoff/landing, but
    have a very extended range of up to 30km. With several hours of range, they are available either, battery-powered or with an internal combustion engine.
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