U.S. Drone Lost Over Libya The Day After Italy Lost a Predator B in Libya | World Defense

U.S. Drone Lost Over Libya The Day After Italy Lost a Predator B in Libya

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,616
Reactions
2,746 31
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
U.S. Drone Lost Over Libya The Day After Italy Lost a Predator B in Libya: New Jamming Capability Deployed?

mq9-reaper-weaponized.jpg


Although it may well be just a coincidence, the loss of two drones suggests a new capability is available in Libya. Possibly provided by Moscow-backed mercenaries.
A U.S. drone was lost over Tripoli, Libya, on Nov. 21, 2019, a U.S. AFRICOM press release announced yesterday.

The aircraft, whose type was not unveiled, was taking part in operations in Libya “to assess the ongoing security situation and monitor violent extremist activity. These operations are critical to counter terror activity in Libya and are fully coordinated with appropriate government officials.”

Interestingly, the RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) was unarmed. Two types of U.S. drones are known to regularly fly over Libya, the RQ-4 Global Hawks based at Sigonella Air Base, Italy (as part of the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron), and the MQ-9 Reapers, based both at Sigonella (as part of the 324th Expeditionary Air Reconnaissance Squadron), at the Nigerian Air Base 201, also known as Agadez Air Base, in Niger, and also at Larissa, Greece, where some U.S. MQ-9 were based (for sure until August 2019 although it’s likely their temporary deployment there has been extended). While the RQ-4s don’t carry weapons, MQ-9s usually carry PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), although the examples based in Greece fly their reconnaissance missions unarmed.

Anyway, it’s also worth of note that the U.S. drone was lost the day after the Italian Air Force lost another unarmed MQ-9A Predator-B drone southeast of Tripoli. While the LNA According to the Italian Defense, the unmanned aircraft was flying in support of “Operazione Mare Sicuro” (Italian for “Safe Sea” on a route that was known to the Libyan authorities. Contact was lost with the UAV that eventually crashed several kilometers inland. Operation Mare Sicuro was established in 2015 to protect Italian national interests in the Central Mediterranean: it is a counter-terrorism mission to ensure maritime security. On Aug. 2, 2017 the scope of Operation Mare Sicuro was extended with the mandate to cover Libya territorial waters, in support of the Libyan Coast Guard, following a formal request by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

However, the Italian version is denied by the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman who stated that the Italian drone was shot down by LNA force as it was deliberately operating in the area of Tarhouna, quite far from the Libyan coastline.

While both incidents are being investigated and no additional details have been disclosed, most sources seem to agree that the drones were not lost to enemy fire; according to unverified rumours, both were lost due to jamming, suggesting the deployment of systems able to disrupt signals used to control UAVs.


The drone jamming capabilities would have been provided by Russian private military contractors deployed to Libya to escalate the conflict and boost its influence there. Although Russia has officially denied its military presence in Libya, there have been numerous reports of Moscow-linked Wagner mercenaries operating on the ground around Tripoli.

“Forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive this spring to seize Tripoli from Libya’s internationally recognized government. Russia is reported to be providing unofficial assistance to Haftar with the Wagner Group, a private army linked to President Vladimir Putin through businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin,” a recent article from The Moscow Times reported.

“Russia has invested heavily in electronic warfare systems which are capable of shutting down communications and signals across a broad spectrum,” the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group warned in a handbook it published in December 2016 that clearly highlighted the significant expansion of Moscow’s hybrid warfighting techniques. “The Russians layer these systems to shut down FM, SATCOM [satellite communication], cellular, GPS, and other signals,” The War Zone reported.

However, while breaking the link between the UAVs and their remote control stations can be an easy task for a category of small drones, jamming the signals used to remotely-pilot MQ-9 Reapers (that are guided via satellite data-links when BLOS – Beyond Line Of Sight), can be extremely more difficult. For instance, when officials said Russia was jamming U.S. drones in Syria in 2018, they explained that only small drones were affected: “The officials said the equipment being used was developed by the Russian military and is very sophisticated, proving effective even against some encrypted signals and anti-jamming receivers. The drones impacted so far are smaller surveillance aircraft, as opposed to the larger Predators and Reapers that often operate in combat environments and can be armed” NBC News reported.

However, jamming communication datalinks is not the only way to target drones: GPS jamming and GPS spoofing (i.e. deceiving and manipulating the satellite navigation system do provide false location data) are known capabilities of Russian man-portable and vehicle-mounted electronic warfare systems.

Was an Electronic Warfare attack the cause behind the loss of the two military drones last week? Maybe.

In conclusion, it’s unclear why two pretty advanced drones crashed two days apart around Tripoli but it’s totally possible that sophisticated anti-UAV technology made its way to Libya. And we will probably find out more in the next weeks.
 

Falcon29

SENIOR MEMBER
Joined
Nov 29, 2014
Messages
1,934
Reactions
820 8
Country
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Location
USA
So Italy has presence in Libya in support of GNA and with permission of GNA? And US has presence in Benghazi with permission of General Haftar led LNA? It may be that the LNA shot down Italian drone and GNA shot down US drone. They both moderate air defense capabilities. I don't think Russia is at play here.

Libyans need to share power and ask foreigners to leave. They need to learn how to advance their form of government for the better.
 

Lieutenant

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,687
Reactions
1,732 14
So Italy has presence in Libya in support of GNA and with permission of GNA? And US has presence in Benghazi with permission of General Haftar led LNA? It may be that the LNA shot down Italian drone and GNA shot down US drone. They both moderate air defense capabilities. I don't think Russia is at play here.

Libyans need to share power and ask foreigners to leave. They need to learn how to advance their form of government for the better.
Both parties will keep on fighting for years to come.
 

Falcon29

SENIOR MEMBER
Joined
Nov 29, 2014
Messages
1,934
Reactions
820 8
Country
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Location
USA
Both parties will keep on fighting for years to come.
Unfortunately is the case, they know have two governments plus two armies. They need countrywide parliamentary elections again and form one national army with new leadership of some sort. Italy, France and US roles are not helping Libya move forward. They are each focusing on some short term interests and in case of the US, I don't think the US cares anymore about development of Libya. They just want Arabs to focus on 'counterterrorism efforts' and keep them busy with that stuff. It's not good.
 

Lieutenant

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,687
Reactions
1,732 14
Unfortunately is the case, they know have two governments plus two armies. They need countrywide parliamentary elections again and form one national army with new leadership of some sort. Italy, France and US roles are not helping Libya move forward. They are each focusing on some short term interests and in case of the US, I don't think the US cares anymore about development of Libya. They just want Arabs to focus on 'counterterrorism efforts' and keep them busy with that stuff. It's not good.
Other parties are also involved beside the US, France and Italy, you have Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE. The situation is very very complicated.
 

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,616
Reactions
2,746 31
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
Libyan officials say American military drone shot down by mistake



An MQ-9 Reaper flies over the Nevada Test and Training Range, July 15, 2019. (Senior Airman Haley Stevens/Air Force)

CAIRO — Libyan forces trying to seize Tripoli shot down a U.S. military drone over the capital by mistake last week, officials said Monday.
The U.S. military said it lost the drone Thursday while it was assessing the security situation and monitoring extremist activity. U.S. Africa Command declined to elaborate Monday, saying only that the incident was under investigation.
The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive to capture Tripoli in April after seizing much of eastern Libya from Islamic militants and other rivals in recent years. The country was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The country is now split between a government in the east allied with Hifter and one in Tripoli, in the West, that is supported by the United Nations.


The U.S. military said Friday it lost an unmanned drone aircraft over the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where rival armed groups have been fighting for control of the city for months.

The LNA is backed by Egypt and UAE, while the Tripoli-allied militias receive aid from Turkey and Qatar. The fighting has stalled in recent weeks, with both sides dug in and shelling one another along Tripoli's southern reaches. They have also carried out airstrikes and drone attacks.

A senior official in the LNA's general command said they mistook the U.S. drone for a Turkish-made drone used by the Tripoli-allied militias. The LNA also downed an Italian drone southeast of Tripoli in recent days.

The official said the LNA apologized for shooting down the American drone and has "agreed with the Americans to coordinate their operations over Tripoli and its surrounding areas to avoid similar incidents in the future."
Sign up for the Early Bird Brief
Get the military's most comprehensive news and information every morning.
Subscribe
The LNA fighters did not share photographs of the U.S. drone online as they usually do when they shoot down drones, including the Italian one last week, another official said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
On Saturday, the LNA imposed a "no-fly zone" over Tripoli, saying that all flights over the capital city and nearby towns are "prohibited without prior coordination."
The Tripoli fighting forced the U.S. military to pull out a small contingent of American troops who were in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat the Islamic State group and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.

In September, the U.S. military said it carried out several airstrikes against ISIS, killing more than 40 militants in the first American strikes in the North African country in over a year.
 

Top