- The head of US Central Command told CBS News that the USS Boxer may have actually downed two Iranian drones last week, not just one, as was initially reported.
- The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer engaged Iranian unmanned air assets last week, reportedly with a new Marine Corps weapon, in the Strait of Hormuz, sending at least one splashing into the water.
- The incident occurred just a few weeks after Iranian forces shot down a sophisticated and high-flying US drone.
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The US’s top general in the Middle East said a US Navy warship may have downed more than just the one Iranian drone reported last week, CBS News reported on Tuesday.
The USS Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, eliminated an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle that, according to President Donald Trump, “was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” as they passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday.
At the time of the president’s announcement, which was confirmed by the Pentagon, it was believed that the American warship had downed only one Iranian drone.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, described the situation as “a complex tactical picture,” telling CBS News’ David Martin, “We are confident we brought down one drone; we may have brought down a second.”
One of the drones simply disappeared, but the Boxer’s crew saw the other splash down in the water.
As to how the US warship eliminated the Iranian drones, the Pentagon said only that the “ship took defensive action against the [unmanned aerial system] to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
CNN first reported that the Boxer brought the unmanned asset down using electronic-jamming capabilities. Military.com then reported, citing a US official speaking anonymously because of mission’s delicate nature, that a new Marine Corps weapon – the Light Marine Air Defence Integrated System (LMADIS) – sent the one confirmed kill crashing into the sea.
More than 2,000 Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are on a six-month sea deployment with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, a defence official told Military.com, revealing that the unit deployed with the LMADIS.
The weapon, which allows the US to cheaply eliminate hostile drones without relying on more expensive air-defence assets like missiles, has the ability to jam a drone’s signal using radio frequencies.
The downing of the Iranian drones comes just a few weeks after Iranian forces shot down a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft, specifically a RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) drone, in an incident that risked escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran, Iran’s capital, into an armed conflict.
Trump said he was ready to launch a retaliatory strike that would have killed more than 150 Iranians, but he canceled the strike at the last minute, calling it an unfair escalation of force.
Iran denies US claims that any Iranian drones were destroyed.
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