The US Marine Corps made use of a new portable jammer system last week for jamming an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle thus forcing it to crash into the sea. The latest Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System – LMADIS – jammed the signal between the drone and its operators. This left the drone at the mercy of physics and gravity!
The incident took place in the Strait of Hormuz that connects the Gulf of Oman to the Persian Gulf. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit was aboard the amphibious assault ship Boxer and had the LMADIS jammer setup on the Boxer’s flight deck thus providing a way to intercept the Iranian UAVs that were known to operate in the area. The marines detected an Iranian UAV and then jammed it when the drone was within a 1,000-yards range of the Boxer.
LMADIS is a counter unmanned aerial system (counter-UAS) that comprised of two Polaris MRZR scooters; one is the command vehicle whereas the other is a jamming vehicle. LMADIS consists, reportedly, of an ‘RPS-42 tactical air surveillance radar, small EO/IR camera, Skyview RF Detection system and Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer.’ The engagement procedure for LMADIS works something like this; the RPS-42 find the drone on radar or the Skyview detects the back-and-forth radio signals that are being transferred between the operators and the drone.
For the next step, the electro-optical/infrared camera is fixed on the incoming drone to identify whether it is a hostile or a friendly drone. If deemed hostile, the marines aim the MODi jammer at the drone and thus prevent the operators’ commands from reaching the drone. Gravity does the rest and brings the drone down. The LMADIS vehicle was set on the bow of the Boxer and was even captured on camera by another Iranian drone that was on a reconnaissance flight. However, the Iranian forces failed to identify it as a threat to their drones.
According to the program manager for LMADIS, ‘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.’ According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the drone that was taken out was a ‘fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS).’
Iran claims that it was a Mohajer-4 but also says that it was not drowned. Keeping everything aside, LMADIS sure is a handy piece of technology to have!