US army claims landmark drone kill
The US army has hailed the killing of two suspected insurgents in northern Iraq by a drone as a landmark in combat aviation history.
A statement said that a Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) successfully killed two “unknown enemies” in Nineveh province after ground troops requested backup.
According to the Pentagon, this represented the first time a fully-armed UAV had been launched.
The military claims that soldiers identified two potential bombers at a “major thoroughfare” used by coalition troops.
Before they could deploy roadside bombs – or improvised explosive devices – as suspected, the Hunter was guided in by pilots and its “precise munition” released; killing both men.
“It’s very humbling to know that we have set an army historical mark in having the first successful launch in combat from an army weaponised UAV,” said Captain Raymond Fields of the American army’s UAV division.
“This would not be possible without my soldiers and civilians working hard day in and day out in Iraq to accomplish this feat.
“I think that this success will set the tone for army aviation in years to come. We will see more weaponised army unmanned vehicles being used instead of manned platforms to save not only our aviator brethren but our army ground brethren from enemy contact.”