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A small UAV flying over a city at dusk. Courtesy of Adobe Stock/Naypong Studio

The Right’s Time to Fly? Exploring the Possibility of Right-Wing Extremists’ Use of UAVs

Håvard Haugstvedt
RUSI Journal, 26 April 2021
While far-right chatter indicates an interest in the use of UAVs for attacks, other methods remain more popular.

UAVs have been used by non-state actors in the past decade. However, no known attack by right-wing extremists has been carried out using them. Håvard Haugstvedt reviews recent developments in attacks – through online activity in open forums and by examining groups that have already used UAVs in their operations – by such actors, to explore the possibility of right-wing extremists adopting UAVs. The article argues that right-wing extremist groups lack a strong entity, such as a state, backing their development and operations. However, terrorist groups learn from one another, and as extreme right-wing ideologies have gained currency among some members of the military and law enforcement agencies, the capability to develop and use UAVs may be more possible than that which has been revealed thus far. Nonetheless, this article casts doubt on right-wing extremists’ capability and desire to incorporate UAVs into a violent repertoire that has historically been composed of fists, fires and firearms.

BANNER IMAGE: Despite expressing some interest on the internet, right-wing extremists have provided few indications that they are planning to use UAVs. Courtesy of Adobe Stock/Naypong Studio

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