A USAF General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle recently engaged three insurgents in the process of planting a homemade bomb along a road near Balad AB, Iraq, neutralizing the threat with an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. The Predator monitored the three terrorists for about a half hour while they used a pick ax to dig a hole in the road, placed an explosive round in the hole, and strung wires from the hole to a ditch on the side of the road. When it was clear the individuals were placing a bomb, the Predator launched the 100-pound Hellfire missile, killing all three insurgents.
"This is a prime example of how airpower is supporting the fight on the ground," Air Force Brig. Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad, said. "We’re able to provide a persistent view of the battlefield to commanders on the ground and, if called upon, put a weapon on a target within minutes."
Using joint Army and Air Force trend analysis and past incident reporting from the area, the Predator was assigned to monitor the general location where the insurgents were ultimately found. "Based on the information we had available, we had a pretty good idea there might be some activity in the area, and we were right," Gorenc said.
Source: Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
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