FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday the agency is investigating several cases in which people sought to fly drones equipped with home-made bombs within the United States.
“We are investigating, even as we speak, several instances within the US of attempts to weaponize drones with homemade IEDs,” Wray told a Senate hearing, referring to improvised explosive devices.
Wray said the threat of widely available drones has risen quickly with rapid technological advances “in terms of their visibility, the speed with which they can move, the distance with which they can move, and also the loads that they can carry.”
“These are extraordinarily sophisticated tools that can carry drugs that can launch weaponry, and we must be able to counter it,” he said.
Wray, speaking in a hearing on domestic threats by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, did not provide any detail on the armed drone cases.
But the rapid increase in the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles in the Ukraine war, including cheap hobbyist drones jury-rigged with grenades and mortar shells, has demonstrated how easy they are to make and deploy.
“That is the future that is here now,” Wray said, urging legislation to expand the powers of the FBI and other authorities to counter the security threat of private drones.