R/C Airplane ‘Terror Plot’ Thwarted

Federal officials say the public was never in danger in a Massachusetts man’s alleged plot to blow up the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using remote-controlled model airplanes filled with explosives, but that the intent was very real.

The explosives delivered to Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen of South Asian background, were always closely monitored during an FBI sting operation, according to the Justice Department. The 26-year-old was arrested Wednesday and accused of planning the terror plot, as well as attempting to assist Al Qaeda in attacking U.S. troops overseas.

Ferdaus, of Ashland, Massachusetts, was taken into custody in Framingham after undercover FBI agents delivered weapons he allegedly sought for the plan. The stash included what Ferdaus thought was 25 pounds of C-4 explosives, as well as three grenades and six AK-47 assault rifles — all of them non-functional.

Ferdaus allegedly intended to launch three small GPS-guided R/C airplanes from East Potomac Park — two against the Pentagon and one against the Capitol, according to a detailed plan he gave to the FBI. He conducted surveillance for the attack in May, the FBI says.

At the time of his arrest, Ferdaus had already purchased a remote-control F-86 Sabre scale model. The FBI says he was also planning to expand his attack to include an assault at both sites with a pair of three-man teams firing automatic weapons. There is no indication Ferdaus was connected to any terror group.

This isn’t the first time the U.S government has warned about the potential of terrorists using remote control aircraft to inflict damage on targets inside America. It is, however, the first time a suspected terrorist has been arrested on U.S. soil with such an airplane in his possession.


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