Washington plans to fight terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan with greater effect. Surge has already been ordered and 3200 US Marines have started arriving in Afghanistan. The US Air Force is planning a new air strategy, and impressed by the accuracy and lethality of Predator and Reaper drones, Robert Gates the US Defence Secretary, has asked for funds for more drones for the US Air Force. Gates saw the unmanned planes in Iraq, piloted remotely from Nevada in America, destroying insurgents’ hideouts with pinpoint accuracy. Gates has been briefed about the destruction caused by these deadly drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan. These remote controlled planes have the ability to linger over a target for twenty-four hours. They provide clear images of insurgents’ hideouts, movements, deployment and intentions, to commanders in the US. The electronic photo capability of the US drones is amazing.
These fifth generation un-manned planes can detect a man with a suicide belt, automatic weapon or a cell phone. They will change the nature of anti-terrorist war by their surprise and shock effect. With these drones in the air the terrorists will have no place to hide except insides the caves. Presently this is the best weapon system and is likely to be used in greater numbers by the USAF in the coming months.
Air Force Lieutenant General Gary North who runs air combat operations across Africa and West Asia, including Afghanistan impressed by the lethality of the Reaper has asked for substantial increase. Defence Secretary Gates has asked the Pentagon to field more Predator and Reaper drones to meet USAF requirements. The Predator drone carries Hellfire missiles. During the war on Afghanistan pilots launched these on airfields. On March 10, 2008 Los Angles Times reported: “In Pakistan missiles of unknown origin smashed into a Taliban compound in what appeared to be the second unacknowledged US Predator strike into that country.” In 2007 there were a number of Predator strikes on Tribal villages. The regime tried to hide the missile bombing of a madrassa at Bajaur in which 82 people, including children died. It was shameful for the government to own this slaughter, when Predator drones had been flying the area for three day’s, prior to the firing of Hellfire missiles.
The new Reaper drone travels at twice the speed of the Predator, and is less vulnerable to ground fire. The Reaper flew its first mission on October 1, 2007 and is the most lethal drone in USAF inventory. According to US experts, “It bristles with guided missiles and bombs similar to those abroad an F-16 jet fighter.” So far the Reaper has flown 16 missions attacking targets in Afghanistan using 500 pound bombs and 110 pound Hellfire missiles.
General Gary North states, “….the Reaper….is proving to be extremely capable. It is very accurate.” On February 24, 2008 a Reaper drone tracked a truck that appeared to be carrying a mortar tube and militants team to fire the weapon. The insurgents were ready to use the mortar near Kandhar, when a Reaper bomb struck the truck. The same day a Predator drone destroyed a militants weapons cache with a Hellfire missile. Instead of using F-15, 16 and B-52 fighters and bombers deployed in Qatar, drones will be used to detect and crush terrorists.
Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute comments, ” It is almost having our own little satellite over a terrorist cell. So far the Reapers durability and safety record has been good. None has been shot down. But these drones are expensive. Each of the ten Reaper systems with the USAF cost $ 53 million. The USAF had procured 258 Predator drone systems in 2007, each costing $ 40 million. Presently the USAF has 102 Predators in its inventory. It is seeking $ 540 million for additional Predators and $ 334 million for more Reaper drones.
The ability of these remotely controlled drones to linger over the targets for twenty-four hours, provide continuous images of insurgent strength, movement, activity and intentions, is of vital importance for attack plans. Accuracy and lethality of drone launched guided weapons will overcome the advantage of terrain protection that the terrorists have along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In the changing nature of terrorist combat in Afghanistan, Waziristan and Iraq, these drones will enhance vigilance and help pre-empt terrorist attacks. Both Predator and Reaper can detect a suicide bomber with an explosive belt round his waist. This information could help stop the suicide bomber from causing death and devastation.”
The US leaders are convinced that Laden and Al-Qaeda fighters are hiding in Pak-Afghan border areas, and are busy planning suicide attacks on the US. Regular suicide bombings, especially the assassination of BB has shocked every country, especially the US, where she is held in great regard. The US government is determined that the terrorists must not get away.
However, it is important that the new coalition government must formulate a policy to deal with the US plans which includes the violation of the Pakistani territory. US resolve to fight terror should not be underestimated. John MaCain Republican Party’s presidential nominee has reiterated, ” I will go to the door of hell to get Osama bin Laden and terrorists threatening America.” General T Michael Mosley Chief of the USAF has outlined a new strategic plan to fight low intensity war, as well as threat from ascendant powers, seeking to challenge American military superiority. Bush has approved 183 new F-22 Raptor fighter planes for the US Air Force. USAF wants 381. F-22 Raptor fighters and Predator and Reaper drones for a key role in the war on terror.
- Strategic plan of US air force – AIR MARSHAL (RETD) AYAZ AHMED KHAN
- Vision for peace and harmony – AIR MARSHAL (RETD) AYAZ AHMED KHAN
- She had a dream-AIR MARSHAL (RETD) AYAZ AHMED KHAN
- Passion for democracy – AIR MARSHAL (RETD) AYAZ AHMED KHAN
- Democracy is the best revenge- Air Marshal Ayaz A Khan (R)