US to help stop attack drones even before launch

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 9 February 2022: The UAE’s air defence system has been very effective to thwart recent missile attacks on the country; still, the United States will work with the UAE to improve the system, a top US military commander told the Emirates News Agency (Wam) on Monday.

General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of the US Central Command, added that the US is working with the UAE and other regional and global partners to develop more effective solutions to stop drone attacks, even before they are launched.

“We are happy to see that THAAD [the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system] employed successfully by UAE in the first two combat employments of that system. So, that’s been very good, and I know that it sends a strong message of reassurance to everyone in UAE. We will continue to work with UAE to make that system even better in the future,” said General McKenzie, who is on an official visit to the UAE.

His visit comes in the wake of terrorist attacks by the Houthi militia against civilian targets in the UAE. The UAE’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) had announced in January that its air defence forces had intercepted and destroyed missiles launched by the Houthi terrorist group.

On 2nd February, the ministry said it had intercepted and destroyed three “hostile” drones that penetrated the UAE’s airspace.

Solution to tackle drone attacks

General McKenzie, who oversees the US forces in the Middle East, added, “We are working with our partners here in the region and with the industry back in the United States to develop solutions that would work against drones. We would like to work against drones what we call ‘Left of Launch,’ [which means] before they can be launched.”

Such a system will be able to detect the launch of drones, see them and disrupt their flight.

“And if you can’t do that, you will certainly be able to shoot them down as they reach their intended target,” he explained.

“In all of those areas we’re working with our friends internationally as well as with industries in the United States to become more effective at that.”

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