C-RAM systems successfully downed two loitering munitions attempting to attack the al Asad Airbase in #Iraq Tuesday morning. No reports of damage or casualties. This comes as C-RAM systems downed two other explosive drones attempting to target Camp Victory near the #Baghdad airport.
Per usual, #Iran-backed militia groups are suspected to have launched the drones, which they have been doing on a regular basis, as well as launching rockets against the local #American installations since the killing of IRGC Major General Qasem Soleimani over two years ago. To read more about Soleimani and the recent calls for President Trump’s international prosecution by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, click here. Attacks tend to flare up around the anniversary of his death, as these groups continue to vow revenge. However, it is to be noted that these tacks were not directly in response to Soleimani’s death. Although, its not hard to speculate that tensions are high.
Meanwhile, Iran held a massive memorial for Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in the country’s capital to mark the anniversary of the American drone strike in Iraq that killed the military leader and an Iraqi militia commander on Jan. 3, 2020.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Monday’s attacks were coordinated or backed by Iran. They came a day after Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tweeted: “Martyr Soleimani is more dangerous for his enemies than General Soleimani.”
“Iran is trying to show that they are taking revenge and that they are strong,”
said Hamdi Malik, an associate fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an expert on Iraq’s Shiite militias.
“But at the same time they don’t really want to start a war because they desperately need the sanctions to be lifted,” Mr. Malik said.
The intercept capability of C-RAM is effectively a land version of weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS radar-controlled rapid-fire gun for close-in protection of vessels from missiles; either weapon system also uses a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera to allow a defender to visually identify these target threats before engaging the targets.
One major difference between the land- and sea-based variants is the choice of ammunition. Whereas naval Phalanx systems fire tungsten armor-piercing rounds, the C-RAM uses the 20mm HEIT-SD (high-explosive incendiary tracer, self-destruct) ammunition, originally developed for the M163 Vulcan air defense system. These rounds explode on impact with the target, or on tracer burnout, thereby greatly reducing the risk of collateral damage from rounds that fail to hit their target. (source for C-RAM)