US M-LIDS system’s first baptism by fire in the Middle East

Reports indicate that the U.S. Army has rolled out its latest anti-drone system, known as M-LIDS. This information surfaced after a photo was shared online, showcasing the impressive system. Insider sources have revealed that the U.S. is deploying this advanced technology to protect the floating pier in Gaza from potential drone threats. 

The M-LIDS, or Mobile Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System, is designed to identify, track, and neutralize small unmanned aerial systems [sUAS]. This system is highly versatile and mobile, making it suitable for deployment in a variety of terrains and operational scenarios.

Typically, M-LIDS is mounted on a tactical vehicle, such as an MRAP [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicle. This setup ensures both mobility and protection for the system and its operators. While the dimensions can vary based on the vehicle it’s mounted on, the core components are specifically designed to be compact and modular, facilitating easy integration. 

The technical specifications of M-LIDS boast state-of-the-art radar systems, electro-optical/infrared [EO/IR] sensors, and electronic warfare [EW] functionalities. These elements synergize to deliver robust situational awareness and potent countermeasures against drone incursions.

Within M-LIDS, the radar system is crucial for spotting and tracking aerial threats. It can recognize multiple drones simultaneously, providing operators with real-time updates. The EO/IR sensors enhance this by supplying visual and thermal imaging, greatly improving target identification and tracking, even in conditions of poor visibility. 

M-LIDS also incorporates electronic warfare technologies to counter and neutralize drone threats effectively. This encompasses jamming and spoofing techniques that disrupt the drones’ communications and navigation systems, essentially neutralizing them or compelling them to land.

US M-LIDS system's first baptism by fire in the Middle East
Photo credit: Twitter

The system also employs kinetic countermeasures like directed energy weapons [DEWs] and traditional firearms to physically disable or destroy drones. Depending on the threat level and operational needs, these countermeasures can be activated either automatically or manually. 

M-LIDS operates via a command and control [C2] interface, allowing operators to monitor airspace, assess threats, and deploy countermeasures. The C2 system integrates data from all sensors and provides an easy-to-use interface for effective decision-making and engagement.

Drones’ versatile functions further amplify the threat. These devices can conduct surveillance, reconnaissance, and direct attacks. Equipped with cameras, explosives, or other payloads, they serve as effective tools for intelligence gathering and offensive operations. This versatility makes them particularly attractive to adversaries. 

US M-LIDS system's first baptism by fire in the Middle East
Photo credit: US Army

Recent events in Gaza have highlighted just how impactful drones can be in asymmetric warfare. Groups like Hamas have effectively used drones for both surveillance and offensive operations, posing serious threats to both military forces and civilian populations. The deployment of drones in these scenarios clearly shows their potential to offer significant tactical advantages.  

The Gaza floating pier, a U.S. military initiative, was proposed right before President Biden’s 2024 State of the Union Address on March 7, 2024, and completed by May of that same year. 

Built by U.S. military forces on ships situated offshore the Gaza Strip, the pier was then connected to the shore via a causeway. This setup allows for the efficient delivery of maritime cargo aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza. The unloading point is part of the Netzarim Corridor. 

US M-LIDS system's first baptism by fire in the Middle East
Photo credit: Twitter

A floating pier in Gaza is a maritime structure that’s not fixed to the seabed; instead, it floats and moves with the water. These piers are essential for docking and unloading ships, especially when building permanent structures is impractical or too expensive. 

These floating piers shine in areas with varying water levels or unstable seabeds. Thanks to their quick deployment and adaptability, they can handle different kinds of vessels, making them versatile for various maritime tasks.

Constructing floating piers involves buoyant materials like pontoons, which are linked to create a stable platform. They’re typically anchored to the shore or seabed with flexible mooring systems that allow movement while keeping them stable. This flexibility is key in coastal regions where conditions can change rapidly. 

US M-LIDS system's first baptism by fire in the Middle East
Photo credit: Twitter

Floating piers can come equipped with various facilities to support maritime operations, such as loading and unloading gear, storage areas, and even basic utilities. They offer a practical solution for boosting a region’s maritime infrastructure without the need for extensive, permanent construction projects. 

Floating piers are particularly vulnerable to drone attacks because of their exposed and accessible nature. These structures typically lack advanced anti-drone technologies and robust security systems, leaving them open to aerial threats.

Drones can take advantage of the mobility and flexibility of floating piers. Since these piers are designed to move with the water, they don’t have the stability or fortification of land-based installations, making it hard to implement effective defenses against fast-moving drones. 

The materials and construction of floating piers also add to their vulnerability. They are often made from lighter materials to ensure buoyancy, which can be easily damaged by drone-delivered explosives or other payloads. This can lead to significant structural damage or even cause the piers to sink.

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