CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Soldiers with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment from Minnesota, conducted Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems training Aug. 17-20.
Bravo Company is part of Task Force Bayonet, a group of over 900 National Guard Soldiers from Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois deployed throughout the Horn of Africa to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The task force provides security forces to military bases throughout the region.
“The training was designed to supplement UAS/CUAS training Task Force Bayonet received (at Camp McGregor, New Mexico) prior to deployment,” said Matthew Delay, an instructor with Asymmetrical Warfare Group out of Fort Meade, Maryland. “All Soldiers should be confident with all basic aspects of CUAS with reference to detection, reporting and response.”
Delay said Task Force Bayonet is the first task force and battalion to receive CUAS training from Asymmetrical Warfare Group. In the past, the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, has trained on subterranean training tactics with AWG at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana.
During the training, Soldiers worked with the Drone Defender V2, an electronic warfare weapon that can down and disable a small unmanned aircraft system, also known as a drone, said 1st Sgt. Andrew Goodman, the senior noncommissioned officer of Bravo Company. The weapon weighs about 15 pounds and can operate by battery for two hours.
“The weapon is designed to defeat the radio control link between a drone and its operator,” Goodman said. “It can also disrupt GPS and video feed of a drone.”
In a time when electronic warfare has become a viable threat worldwide, Delay said preparation is key.
“Our forces experienced emerging threats with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) back in 2000,” he said. “The better we are prepared now through education and training will save lives in the long run.”
Goodman said technology is available to weaponize small unmanned aircraft systems in the form of IEDs and that the Drone Defender V2 is the first line of protection against these threats. They also help reduce collateral damage from the typical use of firearms to shoot down enemy aerial targets.
“Having trained operators ensures quick reaction, appropriate reporting and elimination of potential threats of enemy small unmanned aircraft systems,” he said.