The US-led coalition has released footage showing the interception of two suicide drones that attempted to attack its forces in Ayn Al-Assad Air Base in the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar on January 4.
The coalition claimed that both drones were intercepted and shot down with the C-RAM [counter rocket, artillery, and mortar] system. However, the footage indicates that the first drone was shot down with a missile.
Footage taken by US defensive systems, C-RAM at Ain Al Asad Air Base shows the moment that “two suicide drones” were engaged & shot down pic.twitter.com/b8T5oW6NVU
— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) January 4, 2022
Military observers believe that the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger short-range air-defense system was used to shot down the first drone.
The Avenger was designed to provide mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The system is in service with the US Army and the US Marine Corps. Last year, the system was spotted in al-Anbar.
While the system used to down the first drone remains disputed, the second drone was without a doubt shot down by a C-RAM system.
The C-RAM main armament is the 20 mm LPWS [Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System], a land based variant of the US’ Phalanx close-in weapon system. The system has an effective firing range of around 1,5 kilometers.
The suicide drones used in the attack were apparently copies of Iran’s KAS-04. Tehran allies in the Middle East operate several variants of the drone under different names.
The attack on Ayn Al-Assad Air Base was the second drone attack to target US forces in Iraq since the begging of the year. The target of the first attack, which took place on January 3, was the Camp Victory military bases near Baghdad International Airport.