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Mon, Sep 17, 2007

US Army Records First UAV Kill

Hunter Blows Bomb-Planting Insurgents Away

If the use of unmanned aircraft in war has seemed a long time coming, the technology would bnow appear to be in a steep ramp-up.

The Air Force Times reports the Army has now recorded its first kill using a UAV. On September 1, the service reports calling in a Hunter unmanned craft to attack two men observed planting a roadside bomb. The UAV dropped a laser-guided bomb, killing both men.

The Times reports the number of UAVs in combat has risen from 1,000 a year ago, to 1,350 today -- a 35 percent increase in 12 months.

The number of remote terminals which provide a UAV's-eye view to ground troops is up five-fold in the same period, from 200 to 1,000. Apache helicopters will reportedly have the terminals by next summer, giving pilots the ability to see into remote areas before they fly there.

The Army's current diesel-powered Hunter UAV weighs about a ton, operates at up to 15,000 feet, and can fly missions as long as 21 hours.

The Warrior UAV, slated to begin testing in May 2008, will operate at up to 25,000 feet on missions as long as 36 hours, and carry up to 800 pounds of munitions.



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