May 24, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Tests Fires System Protecting Gaza Pier

May 24, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Tests Fires System Protecting Gaza Pier

Latest Developments

A Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed on May 22 that a system designed to defend the newly built temporary pier on the Gaza coast underwent a test on May 17. “Defensive systems protecting the pier were briefly test-fired on May 17 to ensure full functionality,” the spokesperson said. A Mobile-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft Integrated Defeat System (M-LIDS) and a Land-based Phalanx Weapons System (LPWS) were reportedly installed at the pier. A video posted to X on May 22 showed the LPWS undergoing trials.

As of May 22, 820.5 metric tons of aid has been delivered by U.S. military personnel from the sea to the beach transfer point, U.S. Central Command said in a post on X. Additionally, a total of 506 metric tons of aid was distributed from the beach transfer point to United Nations warehouse as of May 22.

Expert Analysis

“It is good to see the Pentagon taking threats to the pier seriously. The deployment of these capable defensive systems is prudent. Terror groups in Gaza would like nothing more than to kill Americans on the pier and to curtail the flow of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“Installing defensive systems at the pier is a wise decision. It is an attractive target for Hamas and its allies, which view the pier as a symbol of the United States, a country that they staunchly consider an enemy. Moreover, jihadist groups aligned with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State operate independently from Hamas and would likely take the chance to attack the pier, if the opportunity were to arise.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Humanitarian Aid Resumes

On May 22, humanitarian aid resumed entering the Gaza Strip through the U.S. military-built pier following days of delays caused by logistical and technical issues. On May 22, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that aid from the pier was reaching Palestinians in Gaza but that it was “not flowing at the rate that any of us would be happy with.” On May 23, three U.S. service personnel suffered non-combat related injuries while working on the pier, with one requiring evacuation for treatment at a hospital in Israel, the Military Times reported.

Sullivan’s statement that aid from the pier was reaching civilians in Gaza contrasted sharply with the Pentagon’s assessment on May 21. When asked if Gazan civilians were receiving relief, Department of Defense Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder noted, “As of today, I do not believe so.”

LPWS and M-LIDS Air Defense Systems

The LPWS is part of the larger Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) “system of systems,” which comprises an integrated network of radars, LPWS, command-and-control, and other supporting equipment. C-RAM has been used to protect American troops for over a decade from rockets and mortars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2021, the system has also proven itself to be a capable asset in the counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) domain, protecting U.S. bases in Iraq from drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias as part of a multi-layered, multifaceted C-UAS defense.

A separate video of the pier also appears to show an M-LIDS, which is a mobile C-UAS platform. M-LIDS platforms are generally equipped with a C-UAS suite that can consist of electronic warfare systems, a 30 mm chain gun, and Coyote interceptors. Together, these two systems could provide the pier and the personnel operating it with a degree of protection from rockets, mortars, and drones.

First Humanitarian Aid Arrives Through U.S.-Israeli Constructed Gaza Pier,” FDD Flash Brief

Gaza-based terrorist group threatens British forces if they begin to deliver aid from offshore pier,” by Joe Truzman

Terrorists Attack U.S. Pier Under Construction Off Gaza Coast,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Jihadism Military and Political Power