"I don't think there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States," Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, told The New York Times.
"I don't think there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States."
Eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles bombarded the facilities in an asault described as a “Pearl Harbor-type" attack. Defending against swarms of sophisticated unmanned drones has been an ongoing concern for militaries.
Even though Riyadh has a capable military with air defense systems, its forces could do little to stop the onslaught, Roberts told the Times.
The Guardian, in an article titled “Middle East Drones Signal End to Era of Fast Jet Air Supremacy,” called Sunday’s attack “the first full-blown drone attack on a strategic site of global significance.”
Countries are investing in laser technology to defend against drones. Companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin are more than 10 years away from the technology, according to MarketWatch.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia both placed blame on Iran for carrying out the attack. Iran denied responsibility. Yemen’s Houthi fighters claimed they were behind the attack. Military drone use in the region is not uncommon. Israel has employed them in Syria and Iran has a fleet.
"The bottom line is that we are likely to see many more of these sorts of attacks, and in particular, coordinated attacks on multiple targets are likely, possibly in tandem with a cyber attack component," Milena Rodban, an independent risk consultant in Washington, told Bloomberg.