Thu, Mar 30, 2006
The Predator Lives Up To Its Name
An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle watched as three
insurgents appeared to be planting a homemade bomb along a road
near Balad Air Base, Iraq, Tuesday. When their motives were
confirmed, the UAV launched an AGM-114 Hellfire missile against the
The Predator monitored the three insurgents for about a half
hour, while they used a pickax to dig a hole in the road. The three
then placed what appeared to be an explosive round into the hole,
and they then strung wires from the hole to a ditch on the side of
When it was clear the individuals were placing a bomb, the
Predator launched the 100-pound Hellfire missile, killing all three
"This is a prime example of how airpower is supporting the fight
on the ground," said Brig. Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad. "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,"
General Gorenc said. "This strike should send a message to our
enemies that we're watching you, and we will take action against
you any time, day or night, if you continue to stand in the way of
progress in Iraq."
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