Intelligence: USAF Eyes For Iraqis


August 3, 2008: The U.S. Air Force sees itself becoming a larger player as Iraqi troops increasingly take over combat chores from American ground forces. For example, it will be a decade or more before Iraq can provide the kind of air support U.S. troops now get. Thus the U.S. Air Force is planning on being in Iraq for a long time. It's not just bombers the air force will provide, but also reconnaissance. This is another area where the Iraqis have a lot of catching up to do. The U.S. Air Force now has all of its fighters and bombers in Iraq carrying targeting or reconnaissance pods. Both of these contain vidcams, with zoom, that can provide a live feed, day or night, of whatever is going on below. The targeting pods also contain laser designators and laser range finders, so that bombers can quickly program and drop a smart bomb or missile.

The Iraqis will be given access to the video feeds, and the ability to move some of the cameras, so that they can run their own ground combat operations. U.S. ground controllers will always handle access to smart bombs, and where they will be dropped. But over the next few years, those controllers will more frequently be working for Iraqi commanders. The air force will equip the controllers with recording systems so that the orders, from the Iraqis, are on record. This is to deal with any later investigations into why a target was ordered bombed, and who gave the order.

All those video feeds supplied to the Iraqis, by U.S. equipment, will also be available to American intelligence agencies. This is a discreet way of monitoring Iraqi progress, as well as knowing who is doing what to whom. The Iraqis are also developing their own aerial recon capability, but it is primitive compared to what the Americans already have. The Iraqis are already shopping around for better stuff, along with lightweight guided missiles. The Iraqis have seen what the Americans can do with this stuff, and they want it, and they will get it eventually.





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