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BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq — The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.
The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.
The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer" drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.
That moment, one the Air Force will likely low-key, is expected "soon," says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? "We're still working that," Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview.
Originally posted by Sys_Config
Hi..I think this was posted already by me on 7-15 under robot squadron sent to Iraq. So it may affect how many come to this for comment. just thought I would let you know a 3rd person posted again after you. Boy are we excited about this!
Originally posted by thebozeian
One point intelgurl, are you saying the sensor operator and pilot will be physically at Creech AFB but assigned to Balad, or drawn from Creech but operating actually out of Balad, Iraq? Or one of them back in the states whilst the other is in country? It would make sense to me to simply have the operation, which afterall is tactical, operated within the local theatre.