Warplanes: June 14, 2004


The United States isnt talking much about how they are using UAVs and helicopters to deal with roadside bombs in Iraq, but these aircraft are being used intensively to deal with the problem. Israel has been less reticent, with recent press reports giving some details. When Israeli troops go into hostile territory, like Gaza, they are preceded by UAVs that have high resolution cameras that either detect bombs, or catch Palestinians placing the bombs. Nearby helicopters then come over and use Hellfire missiles to destroy the bombs, and often the Palestinians that were still in the process of planting them. The Israelis admit to using a communications network between the UAVs, helicopters and troops on the ground (who are also looking for bombs) to instantly exchange information. These tactics have worked, destroying over 90 percent of the bombs placed. 

In Iraq, the U.S. is apparently more intent on keeping their anti-bomb tactics quiet. This is because the Iraqis placing the bombs have been very responsive to new American tactics. Thus its a situation where bragging about how successful the latest anti-bomb techniques are could quickly result in coalition casualties as some Iraqi bomb users found ways to counter the American tactics. 

It is known that hundreds of UAVs have been sent to Iraq, along with a large quantity of new technology for the anti-bomb effort. A lot of the new, often right out of the lab, technology didnt work. Some of it worked, but was then defeated, or stunted, by new Iraqi bomb making and placement techniques.

It has been admitted that most of the bombs are found and disarmed (for examination) or destroyed before they can be used. But there are a dozen or more times a week that the bombs do go off near coalition troops. The full story of the roadside bombs, and techniques used to deal with them, wont be known until American troops have left Iraq, or most of the bomb makers and users are rounded up.


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