An unidentified drone swarm was shown in a video that was acquired and originally released by The Drive 2 weeks ago. The footage was taken in 2019 and shows the swarm trailing an advanced Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer.
During a confrontation that took place on April 24th, 2019, the Ship Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploitation (SNOOPIE) crew aboard the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) captured this footage from a shipboard camera. The film was acquired by The Drive via a request made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and it was first released on August 30.
On April 24th, 2019, at around 8:30 PM Pacific Time, the incident with the unidentified drone took place approximately 30 miles off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California.
Someone can be heard narrating their observations as a videographer for the USS Zumwalt’s SNOOPIE team films the drone. This person states that they were “conducting routine operation 17 nautical miles off the coast of Camp Pendleton in international waters” and that they reported at least six unknown unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) “made multiple flyovers” of the ship during their routine operation.
There is still a lot that is unknown about the drone that was seen flying above the USS Zumwalt.
The CEO of a drone security company called URSA Inc., David Kovar, gave an interview to The Drive and said “I’m unable to determine much of the configuration of the aircraft.” Kovar observed that the drone(s) seems to have a multi-rotor layout, similar to the widely used quad-copter designs seen in many commercially available drones.
Although the distance between the lights on the drone could lead one to believe that it is a quad-copter, there are various designs that are possible that enable drones to do vertical takeoffs and landings while still being capable of engaging in more efficient onward flight.
According to The Drive, the Chinese Navy has a drone that can lift off using a propeller configuration similar to that of a quadcopter, but it can also fly ahead using wings and a pusher-propeller mounted on its fuselage.
A former analyst for the drone sector who talked to The Drive on the condition of anonymity stated, “the fact that the narrator said that there was a pattern of flight where there were no changes in altitude tells me that the drones were either programmed to fly a certain route or controlled from a distance while possibly on altitude hold, which to me isn’t the hallmark of any advanced technology.”
The statements made by the film narrator about seeing six of these drones were fascinating, according to the former industry insider.. According to him, the drones were most likely initiated from a boat, and the fact the presence of six of these drones implies to him “that this was likely a planned ‘mission’ because no one has six drones on a boat for recreational purposes.”