Predator bowls a strike

Air Force Predator UAV Engages Insurgents Placing IED

CENTCOM press release:

Balad Air Base, Iraq — An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle engaged three anti-Iraqi forces in the process of placing an improvised explosive device along a road near Balad Air Base yesterday evening. The Predator launched an AGM-114 Hellfire missile against the group.

The Predator monitored the three individuals for about half an 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 an IED, the Predator launched the 100-pound Hellfire missile, resulting in the deaths of all three insurgents.

“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.”

At least this strike took out some insurgents as opposed to expending a Hellfire on just the bomb itself.


  1. But while taking out the Insurgents was good – and then I assume sending a EOD team in to take out the bomb, would it have made more sense to follow the Insurgents back to whereever they ‘nest’ – and then get them. Or else put in surveillance on whereever they did go back to – and try to more more than just 3. What does a Hellfire cost these days? Did it equal the 3 bodies we got in exchange (who were prob just hired labor).

  2. While I think the cost is great in that way, it is probably also important to keep the insurgents on their toes. If they are afraid that the sky will fall on their heads all the time, they will start thinking twice. This one attack may have stopped people from planting bombs ‘out of their area of operation’ – meaning the insurgents will become more and more grouped into small areas. Which big operations can take down – ie. operation swarmer

  3. Granted cost is a factor but it comes down to more than just does a hellfire cost more in ‘value’ than 3 anti-Iraqi individuals (oh and by cost I don’t just mean dollar value). For example there is the deterent value. Obviously alot of these individuals are highly motivated but if there is a chance you will be killed by something you can’t see/hear/fight thats got to alter some peoples thinking. Defusing these devices alone has little no deterent value that I can see. Following and arresting these individuals might be nice but it seems that in itself contains risks to the troops that have to do it. Half the time we arrest them anyway there seems to be a feeling of ‘poor innocent local people being carted off by evil American puppets’. If we can kill these people while they are in the act with no risk to the ‘good guys’ then I say happy days :)