If you’ve been following news of the rise of the Islamic State, you’ve heard the name of the new drone.
But what does it do?
And what does that have to do with the US?
A drone that shoots down enemy drones would be an extremely significant change to the way the US and its allies fight the Islamic extremist group, and the impact of a drone strike on global security is very much in the balance.
According to the White House, the new US Predator drone is being designed to be used to take out foreign fighters in “unlikely” cases, and it will also be able to “provide a unique platform for targeted and covert operations”.
“A strike is not just a matter of hitting the enemy’s aircraft, but also targeting the enemy from afar.
It’s a mission that has never been attempted before,” said the US defence secretary, Jim Mattis.
The new drone is said to have the capability to “take out a large number of individuals from a distance of up to 500 miles”.
“There’s no doubt that this drone has the ability to target people from afar,” said David Wright, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I think it is a game changer in terms of how we interact with these threats and I think that’s the whole point of this.”
A Predator drone.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech.US defence secretary Jim Mattis has been saying that the Predator drone could take out a larger number of fighters from a range of distances.
“We’re certainly not looking at taking out an entire country from a drone,” Mattis said last year.
However, the US has been heavily criticised for its use of drone strikes in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
In April, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to overturn a ban on the use of drones in Syria by holding a hearing on the issue.
The House of Representatives is also considering a bill that would ban the use and export of drones.
According for the House, drone strikes are “counterproductive to our national security objectives”.
However the Pentagon’s own analysis suggests that they could potentially result in more civilian casualties.
In an interview with Reuters in March, a former US drone operator, Mike Copley, said drones were a potential tool for US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They’re not the only weapon that’s available, but I do believe there’s a real risk to our ability to do the job, and that’s a risk that I think we need to be cognisant of,” he said.
“When you take out people, you’re putting the collateral damage on top of the collateral impact of what’s happened.”
The US has carried out several drone strikes since 2012, killing suspected members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The Obama administration, however, has repeatedly denied using drones in Iraq.
A drone in Iraq during the war with the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant (IKIL) and its successor, the Islamic Front.
The US, meanwhile, has carried on using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with the aim of attacking suspected militants in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere in the region.
US drones have been used in Yemen for more than five years, in the latest incident when an unmanned drone fired missiles at an al-Shabab compound in the country’s capital, Sanaa.
“If I were the US president, I’d be concerned about the use, the use by the United States of UAVs in Yemen,” former CIA director Michael Hayden told MSNBC’s Morning Joe in March.
Hayden, however the current head of the CIA, has said that drones are a “pretty viable option” for fighting IS.
The drone strike that killed the IS militants in Pakistan was the first in Pakistan to use drones.
It is unclear what happened next, and if the drones that hit IS targets in Pakistan had the same capability to strike American targets, or other targets.
The United States has previously used drones in Yemen and Somalia, and has deployed drones in Afghanistan, but these missions are not particularly close to the ground and have not resulted in civilian casualties, the New York Times reported in September.
There are also questions as to whether US drone strikes will be successful in Syria.
In July, US President Donald Trump said that US drone attacks against IS fighters in Syria would be a “failure”, and that “the death toll is so great” in Syria that “we have to be very, very careful”.
“We have to get rid of the bad guys,” he told the BBC.
As a result, the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defence group, said on Monday that it was suspending operations and withdrawing from Syria, as it feared a drone attack could be used against the group.
The US says it has the