Officials said two Predators have already been deployed as part of
NATO's no-fly zone over Libya, Middle East Newsline reported. They said, however, that the Predator
missions were limited to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
In a Pentagon briefing on April 21, officials said Predator would be
used in urban warfare missions against Gadhafi forces. They said Predator
contains the ability to detect and track stationary and mobile targets.
"They [Predators] bring their ability to get down lower and therefore,
to be able to get better visibility, particularly on targets that have
started to dig themselves into defensive positions," Gen. James Cartwright,
vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
The launch of combat UAV operations took place on April 23 in Misrata.
Officials said the Predators would be able to distinguish between Gadhafi's
forces and civilian assets, such as homes.
"The first Predator strike in Libya occurred today in the early
afternoon local time," a Pentagon statement said. "Per common practice we
are not providing any details."
In early April, the United States announced its withdrawal from combat
missions over Libya. Since then, the Pentagon has agreed to combat support
as well as occasional attack missions with NATO.
"The primary strike role has been turned over to our allies and our
friends," Gates said. "And if we can make a modest contribution with these
armed Predators, we'll do it."