|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Oct 25, 2016 06:59 PM EDT|
(Photo : Battelle) Battelle’s DroneDefender is a shoulder-fired weapon that uses radio waves to cut the link between the drone and its controller.
The U.S. Air Force reported shooting down an ISIS aerial drone over Iraq probably using a shoulder-fired electronic drone killing gun. If confirmed, this event will be the first shoot down of its kind for the U.S. military in a combat zone.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the Air Force brought down a small, weaponized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operated by ISIL "a week or two ago." She said this drone was responsible for killing four Iraqis.
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"The Air Force over there in theater was informed there was one such unmanned aerial system in the vicinity and fairly quickly we were able to bring it down. We brought it down through electronic measures," said James.
"It's an example of something we have to attack quickly," said James.
James, however, didn't specify the type of drone shot down or the type of weapon used by the Air Force. But photos made public later by Iraqi media show a flying wing drone equipped with a small camera in its nose. The white painted drone showed no signs of being hit by bullets.
As for the weapon used by the Air Force, the likely suspect is the "Battelle DroneDefender," a shoulder-fired weapon that disables drones using radio waves and can detect unmanned aerial vehicles from several kilometers away when coupled with a man-portable, Israeli-made radar system.
The U.S. Department of Defense bought 100 DroneDefenders a few months ago and a number of them have made their way to the Middle East where ISIL is using aerial drones to reconnoiter and attack coalition troops. A weaponized ISIL drone was recently reported to have killed two Peshmerga fighters.
Battelle's DroneDefender uses radio waves to sever the link between the drone and its controller. It proved "very effective" in tests at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona last September.
DroneDefender comes with a companion radar system that detects and tracks the small and hard to detect drones. The radar system consists of two,18 kg components and can be carried in two rucksacks.
When assembled, the radar provides 360 degree coverage, detecting drones from several kilometers away. DroneDefender is then brought into play.
Russia's use of aerial drones to conquer eastern Ukraine also illustrated the effectiveness of drones in both attack and defense.
"I know there's a lot of work being done on non-kinetic means and I am confident that we are going to have some other systems coming down the road ... but I need something now," said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General US Army Europe.
"We didn't worry about (short-range air defense) over the last several years because there was not a threat," he said. "Now you look at the UAVs, I need a counter-UAV capability."
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