US Marine Corps
Downed Drone

US Navy’s Energy Weapon Gets First “Kill,” Shoots Iranian Drone

byKristin Houser
7. 22. 19
US Marine Corps

Instead of disabling a drone with bullets, it uses radio frequencies.

Firing Back

In June, Iran’s military shot down one of the U.S. Navy’s $130 million Global Hawk drones, claiming it had veered out of international airspace and into the nation’s territory.

Now, the U.S. Navy has returned the favor, using a new directed-energy weapon to disable an Iranian drone in the same region — marking the next-generation device’s first known “kill.”

Mixed Signals

According to a Department of Defense statement, a fixed wing drone approached the USS Boxer while the ship traveled through the Strait of Hormuz on July 18. The drone then came within a threatening range, prompting the crew to take “defensive action.”

A defense official later told Military.com on the condition of anonymity that the Navy took out the drone using its Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS), a new device that uses radio frequencies to jam drones.

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Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, has denied the incident altogether, telling reporters the nation has “no information about losing a drone.”

First Kill

With drones becoming cheaper and more capable, the U.S. military has been investing heavily in anti-drone tech in recent years. However, while many of those systems involve literally shooting down drones, LMADIS essentially uses energy to render a drone useless.

That makes it a far cheaper countermeasure to a drone attack than, say, shooting a threatening device with a missile — meaning this first directed-energy drone “kill” might just be the first of many.

READ MORE: A US Navy ship used a new drone-defense system to take down an Iranian drone [The Verge]

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More on drones: Before Iran Shot It Down, the US’s $130m Drone Spied on the World


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