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Drone Incidents in 2021

As drones become cheaper and more accessible, they are increasingly utilized for crime. Be it terror attacks, espionage or contraband smuggling, drones are capable tools for nefarious means, should they fall into the wrong hands.

Over the course of 2021, many incidents of drone attacks or other illegal activities occurred, across different sectors. Be it defense, maritime, or correctional facilities, all were hit by malicious drones. This post will cover some of these incidents, spanning the different sectors.

One of the noticeable trends of 2021 was the rapid rise of drones as a means of smuggling contraband into correctional facilities. This was a global phenomenon, plaguing countries such as the US, France and many others.

Many incidents of contraband smuggling occurred in South Carolina. Criminals used drones to smuggle dozens of illegal items into a prison in Columbia, including tobacco, smartphones, headphones and marijuana. One of the incidents involved a drone dropping a package of phones and drugs in the prison yard of a prison in Kershaw.

Perhaps the peak of these incidents occurred when an inmate went live on Facebook from inside the prison using one of the phones supplied via drones.

But the correctional facilities weren’t the only sector harmed by drones. Drones make for quite a nuisance to the aviation sector as well. They can be incredibly disruptive, and even dangerous if nearing airports. One of the most severe incidents of disruptive drones in airports occurred in the United Kingdom, when a drone was a mere 6ft from a landing aircraft. According to the report, the drone narrowly avoided hitting the landing plane. Be it from malicious intent, or just incompetent piloting, this incident shows that drones can wreak havoc in airports if left unchecked.

The threat of drones reaches all the way to the entertainment and private sectors. Many incidents of trespassing drones occurred throughout the year. One of the most notable of the bunch was a drone incursion during a world championship qualifier game between Austria and Moldova.

The threat doesn't stop there however. Drones can be used as a weapon, and quite a formidable one at that. They can carry explosives, or target vital infrastructure. Many incidents of drone attacks occurred throughout 2021.

One of the major drone attacks happened at the Iraqi capital airport, which was attacked by armed drones.

Drones can be used to target key personnel as well. The Iraqi prime minister survived an attack at his residence by a drone armed with explosives.

That’s not all however. Mexican cartels have begun using drones as well, arming them with explosives and using them to fight the police.

With drone incidents on the rise, the drone threat is clearer and clearer, and shows no signs of fading in 2022. Not even one month into the new year, and a major attack using drones has occurred. That attack was on an oil facility in Dubai, and has led to the death of three.

The global need for counter drone solutions is evident, to stifle the threat.

This is where Ring comes in. Ring C-UAS is a spoofing based counter drone solution, capable of mitigating the drone threat.


  1. Dedrone Incident Center

  2. South Carolina Prison Smuggling

  3. Drone airport incident in the UK

  4. Drone attack on airport in Iraq

  5. Drone attack in Abu Dhabi

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