News | July 10, 2024

2nd LAAD Battalion Marines Put Counter-UAS Concepts to the Test

By 2nd Lt. John Graham with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), conducted a scenario-driven training April 15-17 for counter-unmanned aircraft systems (CUAS) aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The purpose of the training was to assess, refine and validate counter-UAS tactics, techniques and procedures and to build confidence among 2nd LAAD Battalion Marines in conducting counter-UAS missions. Events such as this give 2nd LAAD Battalion the opportunity to train, educate and eventually provide subject-matter experts in support of establishing counter-UAS programs across 2nd MAW. These counter-UAS programs will be critical for 2nd MAW’s ability to identify and defeat adversary intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting platforms, contributing to counter-reconnaissance efforts and enabling stand-in forces to persist inside of an enemy’s weapons-engagement zone. Counter-UAS is core mission essential task for 2nd LAAD Battalion. Second LAAD Battalion will seek to continue to assess, refine, and validate their tactics, techniques and procedures to meet the demands of the modern battlespace in the ever-changing UAS environment and the proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems.

“Today’s training gives LAAD a way to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for us to conduct active air defense against small UAS when we are integrated with the infantry,” said 2nd Lt. John Osment, the unit readiness coordinator for 2nd LAAD Battalion. “It also gives the infantry a chance to see standard operating procedures that we employ so that when LAAD is not there to support them, they can conduct force protection on their own with weapons that are organic to the infantry battalion.”

During this training, Marines were tested on their ability to shoot, move and communicate in a counter-UAS scenario while directly engaging single-person operated drones with direct fire weapons, such as shotguns, machine guns and rifles, while conducting patrols and occupying defensive positions. The Marines were presented with three different scenarios. After a drone was detected in the field of fire from an unknown location, the Marines were required to process reports for tracking the drone, take up their designated firing positions, and engage with the drone until it was destroyed or the course of fire was completed.

The Marines credit their success to the planning and rehearsals they received leading up to the live-fire portion of the training. Before the live-fire portion of the training event, the Marines spent several days conducting sand-table exercises and immediate-action drills, familiarizing themselves with the range’s terrain and conducting dry-fire rehearsals to build their confidence before firing live ammunition. Small-unit leaders were tasked with ensuring their Marines were fully prepared to put their training into practice and conduct their counter-UAS mission.

“The proliferation of UAS employment in modern conflict necessitates our Marines to shoot, move and communicate in a UAS-dominant environment,” said Lt. Col. Bradley Creedon, commanding officer of 2nd LAAD Battalion. “Today’s training gives us the opportunity to put our CUAS tactics, techniques and procedures to the test and build the confidence of our Marines in conducting CUAS gunnery.”

Written by 2nd Lt. John Graham with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.