How US Troops Train to Tackle the Growing Drone Menace

Balloons vs. Drones: A Novel Training Approach

In the rolling hills of southwest , an unusual sight unfolds. Amidst the rugged landscape of Fort Sill, US troops, armed and vigilant, are locked in an intense battle. Their targets? Not the sophisticated machinery of adversaries, but simple balloons, dancing erratically in the wind, tethered to drones. This peculiar scenario underscores a grave reality: the proliferation of small drones on the battlefield, particularly highlighted by the ongoing conflict in , has become a formidable challenge for military forces worldwide.

The Rising Threat and the Response

The military, recognizing the escalating threat posed by these small, unmanned aircraft systems—capable of delivering explosives with deadly precision—has initiated a comprehensive training program for its service members. At the heart of this initiative is the Joint C-sUAS University (JCU) at Fort Sill, where troops from all branches gather to learn the art of identifying, engaging, and neutralizing drone threats, reports Business Insider.

Lt. Col. Moseph Sauda, director of the JCU, emphasizes the universality of this challenge, stating, “This is everybody's fight.” The sentiment reflects a sobering acknowledgment: the tactics observed in Ukraine, involving cheap commercial drones executing a range of destructive tasks, represent a broader, global shift in warfare dynamics.

Innovative Training Methods

The training at JCU isn't just about shooting down drones; it's about understanding the multifaceted nature of the threat. Utilizing the Drone Buster, an electronic warfare tool, alongside the Smart Shooter—a rifle equipped with advanced optics—service members learn to disrupt and destroy drones with precision. This dual approach, blending technology and traditional marksmanship, prepares troops for a variety of scenarios, from single-drone engagements to the daunting prospect of drone swarms.

Jacob Cameron, the JCU's “air boss,” highlights the ingenuity of using balloons as training targets, explaining that success in this exercise translates to real-world readiness. The plan to incorporate 3D-printed drones into training underscores a commitment to innovation, ensuring that troops remain equipped to face evolving threats.

How Us Troops Train To Tackle The Growing Drone Menace 2

Facing the Future

The importance of such training cannot be overstated. As drones become cheaper, more accessible, and more capable, they not only challenge traditional notions of surveillance and engagement but also force a reevaluation of tactics and defense mechanisms. From electronic jamming to deception and fortification, the strategies being developed at JCU represent the frontline in a new era of warfare.

In conclusion, the fight against drone threats is emblematic of the broader technological and tactical evolution within modern military operations. As US troops adapt to these challenges, their training at Fort Sill offers a glimpse into the future of combat—a future where victory may hinge on the ability to shoot down not just a drone, but a simple balloon dancing in the Oklahoma wind.

Photos courtesy of Business Insider.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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