Islamic State technicians are hacking steering wheels and pedals to make cars drive by remote control — and act as moving bombs — according to chilling new video.
Members of a so-called “Jihadi University” operating from the terror group’s headquarters in Raqqa, Syria show off their progress in a video obtained by Sky News that’s meant as an instructional video for members of the Islamic State in Europe and further afield.
The footage shows the group turning jet-fighter missiles into heat-seeking, surface-to-air missiles, capable of hitting passenger jets. The longstanding problem with stolen weapons was that while the parts have a shelf life of about 20 years, the thermal batteries that power them die much sooner and can’t be repaired. This new video shows technicians who claim to have solved this problem by crafting their own batteries.
The footage was uncovered from a hard drive carried by an Islamic State member captured by the Free Syrian Army along the Turkish-Syrian border. It reveals an alarming level of sophistication and a directive to execute attacks to other parts of the Middle East, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere.
Among the complex methods Islamic State terrorist are pursuing is the use of a self-driving car, rigged with explosives and occupied by a mannequin that carries a heat signature allowing it to get much closer to its targets (because a car with nobody in it attracts suspicion). The mannequin is covered in wires and foil and connected to a thermostat that heats it to a human temperature, making the dummy impervious to thermal imaging and heat-detection. Lasers are even attached to the mannequin’s head to create a believable set of eyes.
Apparently, the remote-control vehicle tech developed by the Islamic State works. Here it is being tested on a former equestrian ground in Raqqa:
The discovery has shocked weapons experts. Major Chris Hunter, a counter-explosives expert and former bomb disposal technician with the British military, told Sky News. that the video is “one of the most significant intelligence finds” when it comes to the Islamic State’s activities inside its operating capital of Raqqa. He says it offers an unforeseen display of the group’s weapons diversity.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the terror group’s weapons development is its advent of a thermal battery than can be used to reactivate missiles. Thermal batteries are the central components of warhead missiles and without them, the weapons are rendered useless. The Islamic State’s new battery means that the group can activate any warhead it can obtain.
Here is the Islamic State’s thermal battery, meant for missiles:
Chris Hunter says the video is a coup for Western governments looking to destroy the Islamic State’s rigid and complex organizational and recruitment structure. He calls it “an intelligence goldmine.”
But as Sky reports, the footage is just one training document, and there could be many more, instructing hoards of would-be attackers to exact terrorism wherever possible.