U.S. Predators to hunt Scud missiles in western Iraq
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
The U.S. military plans to use advanced unmanned air
vehicles to track and destroy medium-range Scud missiles and batteries in
U.S. officials said the U.S. Air Force will deploy the Predator UAV to
loiter over western Iraq in an effort to detect Scud missiles in the area.
The officials said Iraq is expected to use the region near the Jordanian
border in launching any missile attack on Israel.
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The Predator is meant to bolster reconnaissance operations by U-2
aircraft over western and southern Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. The RQ-1 Predator, with a range
of more than 800 kilometers, has an endurance of more than 24 hours.
The UAV, employed extensively in the war in Afghanistan, has
synthetic aperture radar and electro-optical infrared sensors. The Predator
can relay still photographs and live video feeds of ground-based activity
from an altitude of more than 10,000 feet.
"They will play a key role in the intelligence, reconnaissance and
surveillance [ISR] mission and Scud hunting operations across all of Iraq,"
a report by the Washington-based Center for Defense Information said.
"Tactics using Predators armed with Hellfire air-to-ground missiles have
been refined through actual operations in Afghanistan and extensive work
done by U.S. Navy and Air Force strike warfare tacticians."
Officials said some of the Predators will probably be deployed with
Hellfire anti-tank weapons in western Iraq. But they said such use would be
The U.S. Air Force has also begun to deploy the Global Hawk UAV. The
Global Hawk has an endurance of more than 40 hours and can fly at an
altitude of 65,000 feet, out of the range of many anti-aircraft weapons.
Three out of the seven Global Hawks have already crashed.