First Predator strike takes out anti-air threat
/ Published March 23, 2003
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator found and destroyed a radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery gun in southern Iraq March 22 making it the first Predator strike of Operation Iraqi Freedom, defense officials announced.
The multirole Predator used one AGM-114K "Hellfire II" missile to strike an Iraqi ZSU-23-4 mobile anti-aircraft artillery gun outside the southern Iraqi town of Al Amarah.
The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle remotely piloted from a ground control station.
"The RQ-1 model is used for reconnaissance, while the MQ-1 model is used as an unmanned strike platform," said Lt. Col. Brian Pierson, chief of reconnaissance operations at the Combined Air Operations Center located at a desert air base in Southwest Asia.
The ZSU-23-4 is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with a self-contained radar dish for finding and tracking airborne targets. The anti-aircraft systems pose a significant threat to coalition flying operations, said Pierson. Predators have executed successful strikes previously in operations Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch.