Some Marine units rotating to the Pacific to bolster security in the region against Chinese influence do not have organic counter-drone capabilities and must rely on partnered forces to combat the unmanned aircraft, commanders for the units said Friday.
Commanders with Marine Rotational Forces South East Asia and Darwin, two rotational forces that train with U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific to deter China through partnerships, told reporters they did not experience any drone threats during recent rotations. However, they said unmanned aircraft present a “wicked problem” that they do not have assets to combat on their own.
Drone use has surged in conflicts around the world as the technology has become cheap and widely dispersed, a massive shift from post-9/11 wars in which the U.S. used Predators and Global Hawks to dominate the skies. Now, drones are proliferating on battlefields such as Ukraine, Gaza and the Red Sea and in Iraq and Syria, where U.S. troops now face regular attacks.
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The Marine Corps said that its requirement for capabilities to defend against drones isn't new, and the service is working to get necessary gear “into the hands of Marines faster” with “urgently-fielded capabilities,” Ashley Calingo, a spokesperson for Marine Corps Systems Command, said Monday.
Unmanned aircraft systems are “a wicked problem that everyone's…