The War Zone reports unidentified drones harassed US Navy warships on multiple occasions in 2019 off the waters of Southern California.
New documents released via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provide an in-depth view of these mysterious drone encounters that harassed the Navy’s destroyers, prompting counteraction.
Deck logs show multiple incidents that occurred throughout July 2019. The records detail various types of countermeasures were deployed, such as “ghostbusters” anti-drone gun that is a directional jammer designed to disrupt communications between drones and their operators, the destroyer’s 5-inch cannon, and machine guns.
The deck logs show that Ship Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploitation (SNOOPIE) teams were activated to document the encounters. SNOOPIE teams managed to use high-tech sensors and capture a photograph of the drones, which look like triangular shape objects – though the logs only refer to them as UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or drones.
After the first several encounters, the USS Russell, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, began conducting “counter UAS exercises.” There are no details in the logs that specify whether a drone was hit or recovered. On July 30, the USS Bunker Hill, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, deployed Small Craft Action Teams (SCATs), which are crew-served weapons machine gun operators, engaged a hail of machine-gun fire at one UAS. Logs don’t explain if a drone was hit and recovered.
However, there’s one deck log from USS Russell with nearly the whole page redacted. Many answered questions remain if Ghostbusters were able to jam the drone or SCAT teams’ machine guns or the 5-inch guns blasted the drone out of the sky.
The new FOIA request offers insight into mysterious drones harassing US destroyers off Southern California. The incident occurred months before mysterious drone swarms were spotted over US nuclear power plants.