How did the PKK get their drones?


On 03 June 2024, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) released footage of their first-ever weaponized drone strike against Turkish Armed Forces strongholds, which took place on 01 June 2024. It is believed that the group employed multiple explosive-laden first-person view (FPV) kamikaze drones for the attack.

The PKK's drone strike against the Turkish Armed Forces not only marks their first use of such technology but also signifies a notable advancement in their warfare capabilities. This development highlights how both terrorist and militant organizations are leveraging increased accessibility to technology to enhance their operations.

A lingering question is how the PKK acquired these drones. Iran, due to its mutual relationship with Turkey, would likely be hesitant to provide the PKK with weaponized drones and warfare technology, making it an unlikely benefactor. However, just four months ago, the Russian military began training the Syrian Armed Forces in weaponized drone warfare. Therefore, it is plausible that the PKK may have obtained these Russian drone schematics for their own use through illicit means.

Since the peak of the Islamic State Caliphate, militant groups have been striving to replicate the successful weaponization of drones used by IS. However, they have long struggled to achieve this. The onset of the Ukraine war has marked a significant shift, with the use of drones by militant organizations reaching unprecedented levels. 

The war in Ukraine has spurred a massive increase in weaponized drone production.There has been a notable transition in both the types and quality of drones being manufactured for the conflict. Instead of relying on expensive and sophisticated technology, the drones produced for the Ukraine war utilize much cheaper and more expendable technology. Consequently, the average drone has a battlefield lifespan of approximately three days, with Ukraine replacing these drones at a rate of 5,000-10,000 per month. This disposability, coupled with the surge in drone production, has facilitated increased access and utilization of drones by terrorist organizations as weapons of war. It should be noted that the Ukrainians have circulated multiple instructional videos on how to adapt commercially purchased drones.



Print Email