Iranian Drone Downed by Marine Corps Electronic Attack System

An Iranian UAV was targeted and brought down July 18 by the Marine Corps Polaris MRZR vehicle parked on the forward flight deck of the USS Boxer. U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dalton Swanbeck

ARLINGTON, Va. — An Iranian fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle downed by U.S. naval forces July 18 was brought down not by missiles or guns but by a vehicle-mounted electronic attack system.

The Iranian UAV had flown within 1,000 yards of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer and its unknown controller had ignored radioed warning calls. The ship was in transit toward the Persian Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz, the scene of several attacks on shipping and UAVs in recent weeks.

“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a July 18 release. “A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The Iranian UAV was targeted by a Marine Corps Polaris MRZR vehicle parked on the forward flight deck of the Boxer. The MRZR hosted a Mk2 counter-UAS version of the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS) that features four circular antenna radar antennas arrays mounted at 90-degree intervals and an electro-optical/infrared sensor turret, and a direct-fire weapon, according to the Marine Corps website.

President Trump initially announced the incident in a June 18 White House briefing. Iranian forces shot down a U.S Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk UAV on June 21 and fired on an MQ-9 Reaper on June 13. Iranian forces also are believed to have planted the mines that damaged six commercial tankers in May and June. Iran also claims to have seized a British-owned tanker on July 19.