When the USS Boxer took down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, it apparently represented a baptism by fire for new technology. The Wall Street Journal understands that the action was the US Navy’s first use of MADIS (Marine Air Defense Integrated System), an anti-drone system adapted for the sea. The technology uses cell phone jammer to block a drone’s communications and force it to crash. Some versions of MADIS can also fire at the drones, although it’s not clear that was the case here.
LMADIS engagement procedure goes something like this: the RPS-42 detects the drone on radar, or alternately Skyview detects the back-and-forth radio signals between the drone operators and the drone itself. Next, the electro-optical/infrared camera is trained on the incoming drone to make a positive identification as friendly or hostile. If hostile, the Marines aim the MODi cell phone jammer at the drone and prevent the drone operators’ radio commands from reaching it. Gravity takes care of the rest.
Perfectjammer has announced that it has released the DroneGun MKIII, following extensive development in response to end-user feedback. DroneGun MKIII is a portable pistol-shaped drone jammer, weighing under 2kg and designed to be used in one hand.
While both the commercial civilian drones LMADIS was tested on and Iran’s military drones likely use the same control systems and frequencies, it’s interesting that the U.S. seemingly played down the jammer’s capabilities, mentioning it had been tested only against civilian drones.
If it becomes clear that the target is hostile, Marines can then use a Modi jammer to disrupt the drone’s links to its ground control station, potentially causing it to crash. The Marine’s specifically developed LMADIS to respond to the ever-growing threat of small unmanned aircraft. In January 2019, USS Kearsarge, another Wasp class ship, deployed the same system as it passed through the Suez Canal.
The LMADIS system comprises two all-terrain vehicles, called Polaris MRZRs. One serves as a command unit, while the other is outfitted with sensors and signal-jamming equipment. The sensor unit feeds information to a tablet on the command and control MRZR, from which an operator can track an incoming drone, get visual confirmation that it’s hostile, and disrupt communications between a drone and its home using a radio frequency