Various consumer DJI drones are being used in a war right now by both the Philippine Army and the radical Islamic terrorist group called the Maute. The Battle of Marawi is an ongoing war which started last May 23 when President Duterte of the Philippines declared martial law on the island of Mindanao due to a rise in terrorist activities. Consumer drones are easy to buy, and they can give an advantageous aerial perspective, so it wasn’t long before both the Maute and the Philippine Army starting utilizing them. While the government used DJI drones to track terrorist hideouts, the Maute were also spotted using unauthorized DJI drones to escape and monitor the Philippine Army. We Talk Uav got an exclusive interview with an authorized DJI retail store in the Philippines, and they shared insights into the drone surveillance war in Marawi.
DJI Drones in Marawi
According to the interview with the shop staff, the Philippine Army often purchased drones directly from their DJI store. They said that the neighboring DJI repair shop restored numerous drones that were shot by the Maute group. The Phantom 4 seems to be the army’s drone of choice, but the picture above is a Phantom 3 Professional that was taken in for repair. A bullet hole pierced through the camera, and the staff explained that the Maute shot the DJI Phantom 3 Professional at a short range with a .22 caliber bullet, hence the small hole. After the drone lost its live view function, the auto return to home brought back the damaged DJI drone to safety. The Philippine Army was reported to have 2 drones per battalion, but many of those DJI drones came back for repairs.