Drone that Killed US Troops in Jordan Likely Went Undetected

U.S.
forces
probably
did
not
detect
the
approach
of
the
Iranian-made
drone
that
killed
three
American
soldiers
last
week
at
a
remote
base
in
Jordan,
and
there
was
no
air
defense
system
on
site
capable
of
shooting
it
down,
the
military’s
initial
assessment
of
the
attack
has
found.

The
early
findings,
which
have
not
been
previously
reported,
indicate
that
the
drone
may
have
been
missed
due
to
its
low
flight
path
,”
a
U.S.
defense
official
with
direct
knowledge
of
the
assessment
told
The
Washington
Post.
Additionally,
this
person
said,
the
base,
known
as
Tower
22,
was
not
outfitted
with
weapons
that
can
“kill”
aerial
threats
like
drones,
and
instead
relied
on
electronic
warfare
systems
designed
to
disable
them
or
disrupt
their
path
to
a
target.

A
common
strategy
among
drone
operators
and
other
pilots
seeking
to
minimize
or
evade
radar
detection
is
to
fly
low
to
the
ground.
Another
U.S.
official
affirmed
the
military’s
belief
that
the
drone
flew
too
low
to
be
detected.
Both
officials,
like
some
others,
spoke
on
the
condition
of
anonymity
to
discuss
a
sensitive
and
ongoing
investigation.
Defense
officials
have
stressed
that
assessments
can
change
as
investigators
learn
more.

Taken
together,
the
preliminary
findings
appear
to
undermine

previous
assertions

that
U.S.
air
defenses
mistook
the
attacking
aircraft
for
an
American
drone
returning
to
the
base
about
the
same
time,
and
they
raise
new
questions
about
the
Pentagon’s
ability
to
keep
pace
with
the
threats
facing
U.S.
personnel
deployed
across
the
Middle
East
since
the
war
in
Gaza
set
off
an
acceleration
of
violence.

U.S.
Central
Command,
which
oversees
military
activity
throughout
the
region,
has
declined
to
say
whether
officials
believe
the
militants
responsible
had
knowledge
of
the
base’s
limited
defenses.

In
a
statement,
Pentagon
spokeswoman
Sabrina
Singh
said
Central
Command
continues
to
review
the
attack.

“For
operations
security
reasons,
we
won’t
discuss
specific
force
protection
measures
or
potential
posture
changes,”
she
said.
“However,
as
always,
we
are
committed
to
taking
necessary
measures
to
safeguard
our
forces
[who
serve]
in
harm’s
way.”

Tower
22
is
located
at
the
nexus
of
Jordan’s
shared
border
with
Syria
and
Iraq.
It
functions
as
a
support
site
for
another
U.S.
outpost,
the
isolated
Tanf
garrison
in
Syria,
situated
along
a
key
highway
connecting
Tehran
to
Damascus.
From
Tanf,
U.S.
forces
have
sought
to
disrupt
Iran’s
efforts
to
supply
weapons
and
materiel
to
partners
and
proxies
in
Syria
and
beyond.


Location
of
the
Attack


Although
Tower
22
was
outfitted
with
“multiple”
electronic
warfare
systems
capable
of
taking
drones
offline,
it
had
limited
means
to
protect
itself.
The
defense
official
with
direct
knowledge
of
the
military’s
early
assessment
said
the
outpost
was
deemed
a
relatively
low-threat
environment.

“This
was
based
on
the
vast
majority
of
the
threats
and
99
percent
of
the
[Iranian-proxy]
attacks
being
against
facilities
in
Iraq
and
Syria,”

the
official
told
The
Post.

The
containerised
housing
structures
at
Tower
22
appear
to
be
the
standard
units
typically
found
at
U.S.
facilities
overseas.
They
are
made
of
relatively
thin
metal
that
is
not
designed
to
withstand
blasts
on
their
own,
and
can
be
easily
identified
on
commercial
satellite
imagery
and
services
such
as
Google
Maps.

Officials
have
not
said
whether
protection
was
installed
above
the
units
before
the
attack.
Concrete
barriers
positioned
on
the
ground
among
the
housing
units
did
help
to
mitigate
the
explosion,
officials
said.Earlier
threat
assessments
that
concluded
Tower
22
faced
a
lower
risk
of
attack
meant
the
base
appeared
not
to
have
been

“outfitted
with
other
active
countermeasures
similar
to
what
other
locations
across
the
region
had
been,”

said
Paul
Lushenko,
an
assistant
professor
and
director
of
special
operations
at
the
U.S.
Army
War
College
who
has
studied
and
written
about
drone
warfare.

Source:

The
Washington
Post