The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.
“This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS platforms in international waters,” CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. “The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms.”
“We observed one UAS crash into the water but did not observe a 'splash' for the other,” Brown continued. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities, and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn any attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
Tensions between the United States and Iran have been rising for months. In June, Iran shot down a Navy Global Hawk drone over the Strait of Hormuz and Houthi proxies destroyed an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper with Iranian assistance, according to CENTCOM.
Then President Donald Trump announced last week that one Iranian drone was destroyed after coming too close to the Boxer. Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of CENTCOM, first told CBS News reporter David Martin about the second drone on Tuesday.
“We are confident we brought down one drone, we may have brought down a second,” McKenzie said in an interview aboard the Boxer.
It is not clear why McKenzie waited until Tuesday to reveal a second drone might also have been knocked out of the sky.
Although defense officials are not saying how the Iranian drones were splashed, Military.com reporter Gina Harkins has already revealed that a Marine Corps counter-drone system took down at least one of the drones.
The Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System sits atop all-terrain vehicles and it can jam the radio frequencies used by unmanned aerial systems.
Roughly 4,500 Marines and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are currently embarked on the Boxer, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha and the landing ship dock USS Harpers Ferry.