A report published by the “Forbes” website suggested that the United States intends to deploy a mobile defense missile system in Syria and Iraq soon.
The report stated that the short-range air defense missile system “Avenger” is the best readily available system to protect US forces in Syria and Iraq from the increasing threat posed by unmanned aircraft.
In late February, pictures appeared on social media purporting to show the “Avenger” system being transported on a highway from Iraq to Syria. It is likely that it was transferred to the American forces in the Deir ez-Zor region in eastern Syria.
With the FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, the Avenger is designed to protect pedestrians from low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, helicopters and drones.
Until early last year, the bases hosting US forces in Iraq did not have air defense systems. Its weakness was evident when Iran attacked two of them with ballistic missiles in January 2020, in a retaliatory strike in response to the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by a drone near Baghdad International Airport.
Since then, the United States has deployed high-altitude “MIM-104” Patriot missiles to these bases, along with short-range “C-RAM” systems (anti-missile, artillery and mortar shells).
However, it can be said that the “Avenger” is a more suitable system for providing protection to ground forces against drones.
In early 2020, US forces deployed in the oil fields in Deir Ezzor were targeted by unmanned aerial vehicles capable of dropping small mortar shells and ammunition, which was apparently manufactured using a 3D printer.
While the attackers failed to kill or injure any American, they demonstrated the nature of this new threat that US forces now have to deal with.