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.