Jihadist Forum Member: Neutralizing Enemy Aircraft

Aug 10, 2016

In late June 2016, a member of the password-protected, pro-Islamic State forum Al-Minbar al-'Ilami al-Jihadi (Minbar) started a thread on an "easy approach to downing and neutralizing enemy aircraft." The "easy approach" proposed in the course of a lengthy essay is manufacturing a mechanism to disperse a substance similar to volcanic ash in the skies over IS-held territories to deter enemy aircraft from trespassing. Volcanic ash presents a serious threat to aircraft as its small particles, consisting of pulverized rock and glass, are highly abrasive, capable of damaging the surface of an aircraft hindering visibility, obstructing sensors, clogging air filtration systems, and, perhaps most dangerously, clogging engines and causing them to stall. Though it is not clear – based on the information presented – whether the proposed dispersal mechanism is viable, the threat posed to aircraft by volcanic ash and similar substances is real and jihadist discussion regarding its weaponization is notable.

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