National Guard attempts to quell fear over missile launchers at Dakota Pipeline

Rumors of an “anti-drone missile system” at the site of the Dakota Access oil pipeline were started after pictures were posted on social media on Tuesday.

Jon Ziegler, who describes himself as a “citizen journalist,” spotted the surface-to-air missile launchers at the site.  When he posted pictures and a video to Facebook, it quickly went viral, and many commentors believe the system is in place to shoot down any drones in the area.

The missile system was identified as the Avenger Air Defense System, which is a self-propelled surface-to-air missile system that provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters.

North Dakota National Guard spokesman William Prokopyk attempted to quell the public’s fear of the system’s presence by saying the missile tubes aren’t loaded. He stated, “These systems have observation capabilities and are used strictly in the observation role to protect private property and public safety. There’s no authority to arm them.”

YouTube video

In response to Prkopyk’s statements, on Facebook user stated, “Loaded or not, can you spell I- N- T- I- M- I- D- A- T- I- O- N?”

Fox News reported, “the presence of the system could exacerbate things between the Standing Rock protesters and authorities.”

Police have already reportedly shot down a drone for “operating in a threatening manner.”

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