A look at US counter-drone ops in Iraq: Background and history


In April 2020 the US army in northern Iraq’s Erbil Air Base conducted a “dronebuster” drill against an unmanned aerial system. The training exercise in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq illustrated how the “dronebuster jams communication between the pilot and the drone which forces the drone to either land or return to the pilot’s location.” A photo from the U.S. Army by Spc. Angel Ruszkiewic appears below.

(Department of Defense, U.S. Army by Spc. Angel Ruszkiewic)
Dronebuster drill (U.S. Army)

To get a sense in the advances of technologies let’s go back for a second to 2016 and 2017 during the battle for Mosul when ISIS was often using drones to attack Iraqi forces. The US also aided with counter-UAS systems back then.

Brave Rifles conduct counter-unmanned aerial system drill’ by US Department of Defense (CPT Jason Welch)

In October 2018 the US had also conducted a “drone defender” drill. “Troopers assigned to 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, operate the Drone Defender during a counter-unmanned aerial system drill while deployed to Iraq, Oct. 30, 2018.” The US noted at the time, “the 3rd Cav. Regt. is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, working by, with and through the Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition partners to defeat ISIS in areas of Iraq and Syria.”

In yet another drill a TALON tracked military robot picked up a downed unmanned aerial system at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq on May 19, 2020.

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