Snipers hit with Hellfire and damnation
Inside the Ring:
Inside the Ring:
Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said recently that Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used effectively in Iraq to kill insurgent snipers and other terrorists.
Dozens of Predator drones armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles were used against snipers in Fallujah during recent fighting, Gen. Jumper told reporters at a breakfast earlier this month.
"We used a lot of the Hellfire missile capability off of our Predator UAVs to take out individual small targets like snipers and the like that were found by the ground forces," he said.
"It's not a thing where I get a daily report on the weird episode of firing Hellfire off a Predator, no. It's routine."
Gen. Jumper said he could not say whether the deadly missile shots had forced insurgents to change tactics. "But if I were one of the guys that were the targets of some of the events I saw, I would change my tactics," he said.
Predators also are now outfitted with laser designators that can be used to direct precision-guided bombs to targets, he said.
Another tactic being used is old-fashioned aerial gun strafing of targets, with an added high-technology twist.
Gen. Jumper said a relatively new 20 mm round is being used in aircraft strafing missions in Iraq that has a 20 to 25 percent longer range and greater muzzle velocity.
"And you don't walk [the stream of bullets] in there, you very precisely put these computer-controlled pippers [gunsight cursors] on targets and you let go with a one-second burst, which is about 100 or more rounds of stuff that you put into some of these soft-sided buildings and you've done quite a job," he said.