After drone swarms buzzed Navy ships off the Pacific coast, the Navy brought out the so-called “ghostbusters.”
But layers of mystery still shroud the episode in July 2019 when multiple Navy ships had to deal with pesky drones that kept returning week after week, according to a report by The Drive.
What we know is that after The Drive analyzed ships’ logs, redactions left conclusions unclear.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday has said that the drones were never identified, but that similar incidents have taken place elsewhere.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information process show that Ship Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploitation (SNOOPIE) teams were scrambled to get information on the drones that repeatedly buzzed ships off the coast of southern California.
The Navy started out with a bang, firing 5-inch guns at the drones. Nothing.
Then things get interesting because the log of the USS Russell for July 24 includes the term “ghostbusters” and a log entry shows reflects an apparently brief counter-drone exercise lasting about eight minutes.
The Drive does its best to offer guidance there, writing, “Though official references are hard to come by, ‘ghostbuster’ is a term sometimes used to refer to lower-end counter UAS [unmanned aerial system] devices that look similar to rifles.”
Is technology changing the face of warfare?
How do these work?
Instead of knocking the drone out of the sky with a shell, these types of devices are essentially highly-directional radio frequency jammers that knock out a drone’s ability to communicate with its operator.
The Drive notes that the term was not in any previous logs that were reviewed, suggesting that this was a new anti-drone tactic.
After the “ghostbusters” were used, the skies were quiet for a few days.
But on July 30, the “ghostbusters” were again activated.
The Drive sums up the incident as “a sustained, but an intermittent pattern of drone sightings throughout the month of July by Navy ships operating off southern California.”
Although the use of “ghostbusters” produced a temporary halt in the drone activity, redactions make it uncertain what actually happened.
The Drive noted that the public still doesn’t know if the tactic of buzzing ships with drones has been used often and if the Navy has been successful at swatting away the drones.
Although UFOs always come to mind when there is strange activity, The Drive stated that the Navy’s actions fit into a pattern of “believing these were unidentified drones, not fantastic craft with out-of-this-world abilities.”
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