Warplanes: November 12, 2004


U.S. Army commanders in Iraq have been demanding that some of their  larger UAVs be given weapons, preferably Hellfire missiles. Such weapons have been used on Air Force and CIA Predator UAVs for three years, and army commanders get to use armed Predators regularly. The army has two UAVs that can carry Hellfires; the I-Gnat (which could carry two) and the Hunter (which could carry one.) The commanders are complaining to whoever will listen, and apparently the complaints got to the right people. There is now a high speed, although still secret, program underway to arm at least one type of Army UAV with weapons. The reason commanders want missiles on some of their UAVs is because there are often targets, like enemy commanders, or groups of gunmen, who are caught on camera only briefly, before they disappear into a maze of town or city buildings. Only an armed UAV is able to take care of a targets like this. 


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