WASHINGTON - New anti-manned aerial system (UAS) technology that utilizes RF jamming has downed an unknown model of Iranian drone, says the Pentagon. On July 18, 2019, Department of Defense officials reported that the UAS approached within 1,000 yards the U.S.S. Boxer, which the military said was in international waters. The DoD claimed that the drone, after calls to stand down were not heeded, was destroyed by the electronic warfare (EW) system rather than bullets or missiles.
“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” read the statement from Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesperson. “A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached [USS] Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
The Boxer was reportedly outfitted with the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or LMADIS, which is generally equipped on ground-based vehicles to counter enemy UAS, but has been demonstrated as versatile not only in how it is deployed, but in how it can counter enemy systems.
“I can reprogram the radar, reprogram the optic, or the software on the tablet or something in the MODi,” Capt. Forrest Williams, LMADIS project officer for the Program Executive Office for Land Systems told C4ISRnet's Joe Gould this spring. “What we’ve realized is the UAS threat is ever-changing. One day the enemy’s flying Phantom Pros, the next day they’re flying a fixed wing with certain components. What the fleet’s really helping us identify is what they’re flying and how to defeat them, so we can turn back to the fleet and give them a better product to stay up to date with the enemy’s current threats.”
The LMADIS utilizes radar and cameras to scan and detect drones and determine whether the UAS it has "picked up" are friend or foe. If determined to be hostile, RF jammers can be utilized to neutralize the enemy system.
However, Iran, who less than a month earlier downed a U.S. Global Hawk drone, claimed that its system was not dropped from the skies.
"I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own (drones) by mistake!" Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi tweeted on Friday.
Iran released video of its drone, which it purported to flying both before and after the U.S. claimed to have downed it. After the footage was released, U.S. president Donald Trump said he "has no doubt" that the American military disabled and destroyed the Iranian UAS.