The United States has successfully put down an Iranian drone using a new technology it commissioned to use in the sea for the first time on July 19.
The technology, known as the MADIS (Marine Air Defense Integrated System) owned by the United States Navy is an anti-drone program that jams signals to target drones to force it to crash. Some versions of the MADIS can fire live at target drones. However, it is still unclear if it is what’s used here.
The MADIS was developed after officials recognized in 2015 that enemy drones posed an increasing threat to U.S. Marines around the world. And while other technology takes years to build, the MADIS is a combination of many techniques that the US Defense Department said that would have to be consistently updated to keep up with the fast-changing and evolving drone technology.
The use of MADIS against the Iranian drone on the July 19 operation is another thing that is indicative of the growing paradigm shift in warfare — now something that officially involves technology and is taught through the airwaves. Last month, President Donald Trump reportedly signed the signal to launch a cyberattack to disable Iran’s missile system.
The June cyber attack by the US against Iran was said to have planned for a long duration — some suggesting that it took months of planning before the attack was carried out.
As confirmed by the Pentagon, the June attack was carried out by the U.S. Cyber Command and was said to have been motivated by the alleged Iranian attack against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman a few months back.
The U.S. Cyber Command is a newly deputized government agency that is in-charged of the country’s cyber warfare efforts and was promoted to a full combatant status last May.
In coordination with the U.S. Central Command, the agency also attacked the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. Central Command is a military organization that leads to operations involving the Middle East.
Reports also suggest that it is the first of the many plans of the U.S. to launch a cyber command strategy called “defending forward.” The organizations head, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has defined it as operating “against our enemies on their virtual territory.”
And it seems the taking down an Iranian drone today is another successful mission by US Cyber Command in cooperation with the US Navy. However, the US Defense Department is yet to confirm that MADIS was indeed used in operation to take down the drone, but surfacing images revealed that the technology is aboard the mission ship.
The paradigm shift in warfare and the US taking the battleground to the internet aims to prevent violent conflicts. However, questions remain if technological combats could lead to a series of counter-attacks that include conventionally military responses.
As of now, Iran is yet to issue a direct counter-attack to US’s operation to shut down its missile launching system, and is yet to respond to the firing against its drone. It is still unclear whether or not US actions can encourage a fiercer response from Iran.
But the United States is closely monitoring possible cyber attacks from the Iranian government, fearing that they too may retaliate against perceived U.S. aggression in unconventional means, including potential cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure.
Last Thursday, a study from the U.S.-based cybersecurity company, said that they had observed a phishing campaign from what it seems to be Iranian IP Addresses posing as a Cambridge University affiliate and sending malware to US victims through LinkedIn.
For the US, it appears like this is just a start of the country’s more heightened cyber warfare efforts against Iran. When pressed for further details back in the June cyberattack, the Pentagon refused to provide more information citing that they don’t want to comment about an ongoing operation.
Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said, “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.”
This statement from the Pentagon could signify that the United States is still planning for more cyber attacks against Iran and we don’t know when and how these attacks would take place.