09 January 2018
The application of drones for tactical purposes was the preserve of security agencies. As technology becomes increasingly commercialised for myriad purposes, malicious non-state actors such as terrorists and criminals could circumvent international trade regimes that restrict the transfer of potentially dual-use technologies including drones.
Terrorists have reportedly retrofitted aerial drones to conduct attacks and surveillance. The proliferation of aquatic drones may plausibly widen the terrorists’ capabilities and opportunities for attacks to coastal cities.
While the misuse of aerial drones (UAVs) for urban terrorism is a current security concern, it would also be of strategic importance to monitor the developments of aquatic drones for surface and underwater operations.
Although aquatic drones have not proliferated at the speed of aerial drones, the technology is increasingly being explored for security and commercial purposes.
Over time, the aquatic drone technology would expectedly become more commercially viable and affordable.
In highly digital societies (such as smart cities), rogue individuals with access to the Internet and commercially available hardware would be able to assemble aquatic drones with relative ease and speed.
…VS Suguna is an Associate Research Fellow and Faizal A. Rahman is a Research Fellow with the Homeland Defence Programme at the Centre of Excellence for National Security, a unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). This is adapted from a piece in RSIS Commentary.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 24/01/2018