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Attacking the United States with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Borne Radiological Weapons in 2035: Feasibility and Deterrence

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Technical Report

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Air War College -Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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June 2035 the sky was clear and the ocean was calm. It was a perfect night to attack the United States. A fishing trawler rested peacefully on the smooth Atlantic Ocean about 150 miles due east of Washington DC. The trawler was not alone a recreational craft was 50 yards off the trawlers starboard side. The trawler was devoid of a crew, which had left for the luxury craft about 15 minutes before. On board the trawler were two metal frames, one fore and one aft, each supporting a twin-boom unmanned aerial vehicle UAV with a 15 foot wingspan. The unmanned aerial vehicles were pre-programmed to fly to downtown Washington, DC whereupon a payload of radioactive material would be discharged via an explosion. Three more trawlers waited one about 200 miles south of this one, one off the Gulf Coast and one off the Pacific Coast, each with similar unmanned aerial vehicles and payloads. All were ready to launch at the exact same time. At the planned time, a switch was toggled and the unmanned aerial vehicles rocketed from their launchers. The recreational boat pulled away. This was no suicide mission, and the crews would be available again if they could avoid capture

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