Friday morning was going to be a busy morning. Lorrie and I had a meeting over in the agency hangar with Frank and Eric.
Howie arrived at the restaurant while I was sitting with Kevin and Cory Richfield. Cory had enough material on hand to make one frame and one device. The material would be in this morning to make the rest.
Cory had test assembled both pieces at his shop and now wanted us to do the same. He wanted to fly the drone with it on and at it full weight. All the disassembled components were loaded into his van, including the drone.
The three of us carried the boxes into the aircraft shop where the UPS shipping scale was. First thing was weighing and then bolting the device carrier with its extended stands for the clearance needed from the ground and composite propellers.
When all the components for the device came out of the box, Howie knew what we were building. Cory explained all the machining and why he did certain things to Howie.
From Cory’s explanations it was easy to see this was not the first special project he had made of this type. What my intentions were was to give the two camera drones the capabilities of delivering an anti-personnel or a concussion device – a small bomb in other words.
Based on what I was seeing in the Intel from Kampala, the terrorists were getting smarter and more advanced training and planning from somewhere, and the size of the groups were getting larger.
All of those things meant that it was only a matter of time before they achieved their goals. All this improvement in tactics had happened since the prince and his merry men had their personal meeting with Allah.
The training most likely was coming from Iran through Hezbollah, the ISIS or Chechen separatists.
Had Haamid been able to put the full 50 against the Morocco embassy, the outcome would have been tragically different. They succeeded in breaching the security wall and had been able to get a number of terrorists inside where the assault stalled.
From the questions and answer sessions with my 18 people who had been at Morocco, the attack stalled for a couple of reasons. First they had devoted all their manpower to getting inside the wall; they had no one supplying covering fire to keep defenders down.
Second, once they ran into heavy fire from the defenders, they continued to rush headlong at the defenders thinking they could just overwhelm them.
In the past most acts of the terrorists were almost always a bombing of some kind; car, truck or suicide bombing, by only one or a few individuals. All that changed with the ISIS.
The ISIS in its fast campaign that gained so much territory in Iraq and Syria had used multiple car and truck bombs and then before the smoke cleared, followed up with aggressive assaults against rescuers, civilians and troops alike. That combination created panic and hectic retreats.
These were the tactics that were now being taught at the training camps. Terrorism was evolving and security in Africa and the Middle East embassies was going to get a lot tougher. This was what I was seeing in the Intel for Kampala and what JBG would face at all the embassies that we would have starting in October.
I cleared my head of thoughts and reasons and went back to listening to what Cory and Howie were talking about. The empty assembly weighed 25 pounds.
The center section was three and a half feet long and would hold nine packages of C4, three stacks of three formed into a round tube; 12 pounds of explosive. With the battery and caps the unit was well below the 100 pound limit of the drone. In fact, with a different mounting the drone could carry two.
The materials were aircraft aluminum; the strongest one could buy without making them out of titanium.
The anti-personnel version would use half as much explosive rolled into a 1½ inch roll for the full 36 inch length and slid into a paper tube surrounded by an estimated 70 pounds of loose ball bearings.
When I answered Kevin and Cory’s question of what I had in mind to use for the hardware component, Howie looked real hard at me, “Ball bearings? You really intend to do some serious damage!”
“Howie, the AP version will be the last line of defense before hand to hand; at that point collateral damage won’t matter much, as long we keep our heads down first,” I replied.
Robbie filled the center section with sockets to bring the unit up to the 100 pound mark, with extra batteries attached to the drone. Then the three of them worked it under the framework and attached it to the release solenoid, Even though there was no explosive charge in the unit, Cory pushed the steel safety with the red flag through the nose assembly.
I gave Howie the controller for the drone and I held the laptop for the guidance go-pro camera in case we wanted to fly it out of sight outside.
When Howie powered up the control the little electric motors lifted the unit to 6 feet like it was no problem. We followed as Howie maneuvered the drone through and out the end of the hangar door. I took multiple pictures with it hovering in the sun on the tarmac.
After checking with the tower that there were no planes inbound, “Run it through the paces Howie,” I said as I held the laptop to see where it was going. After a few minutes of testing I saw Frank and Eric standing in the door of the agency hangar.
“Fly it over to the agency hangar and let Frank take a look at it,” Kevin replied, “He likes fancy toys.”
Howie put the drone on the tarmac just feet away from where Frank and Eric were standing as we walked over to them.
Kevin was right, Frank and Eric were both into drones. Cory, Howie and I had to explain the drone and device in detail; the amount of explosive material they would hold and my plans for it, even including the anti-personnel one.
“Is this the same type of drone you used in Morocco with the guns mounted on them?” Frank asked.
“Yes, the guns are still mounted on two of them in the armory,” I replied.
“You are going to test these aren’t you?” Frank asked.
“Yes, as soon as the anti-personnel one is done I plan to test it at the compound for effectiveness. If the system works, it will work with the other as well,” I replied.
“I want to be there when you do,” Frank replied.
The drone went back to our hangar, with the test bomb disassembled so Robbie could get his sockets back. Cory took the drone with him so he could test fit the rest of the frames as he completed them.
The only change that Howie wanted in the design was to make the center section 6 inches longer to make it easier to assemble the eight concussion units and re-balance it after the change.
Howie was going to do an internet search for a Styrofoam tube that he could use for spacers in the antipersonnel unit to keep it balanced and make the hardware fill the tube.
I drove my Suburban around the service road to the agency for my meeting. I carried my portable office and the report on the planned terrorist attack on the Kampala Embassy.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.