– UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE [ UAV ]
The unmanned aerial vehicle – the U.A.V was basically developed by Israel for intelligence and reconnaissance purposes. Its first appearance in the battlefield was in the first war in Lebanon in 1982, when small Israel U.A.V were used to locate the Syrian anti-air missile command posts in the Lebanese Bekaa valley and to direct Israeli aircraft in order to destroy the whole system. In the first Gulf War in 1991 USA Marines used several Israeli made sets of U.A.V, which proved successful in monitoring the Iraqi enemy deployment and movements. Soon the U.A.V was equipped with night goggles, radio transmitters for communication tasks and other sophisticated means. In the late 90s’ U.A.V was equipped with laser markers for laser guided bombs dropped from far distance by aircraft.
The success in the First Gulf War convinced USA to develop its own U.A.V system and develop the Predator. The Predator was the first operational U.A.V that carried with him Hellfire missiles with the range of 8 km (5 miles) and was able, independently, to open fire on targets without the need of coordination its operation with the availability of other aircraft in the region. The American U.A.V can stay in the air few dozen hours, is connected to its operators through satellite system and can operate all over the world and be guided from a central command post in Washington or elsewhere. One of the first successes of the Predator in the war on terror was the target killing of Al Qaeda’s leadership in Yemen after the Limburg Attack, led by Abu Ali al-Harthi, on 11/03/2002, on a road 160 km east of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. At that time the usage of U.A.V Predators for target killings was still kept in secrecy. Since 2002 many hundreds Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist were killed by U.A.V Predators.
Israel uses a series of U.A.V Predators in its campaign against the Palestinian terror leadership to hunt them down and to kill them whenever the time is right. Israel also developed specific missiles to minimize the possible collateral damage or casualties and relies on the accuracy of its missiles.
From all the technological developments to cope with the Global Jihad and Global terror the U.A.V Predators became the most successful offensive operational tool. It became the main concern to Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Palestinian terror organizations and to all other terrorists whether they are in Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere.
Today (07/2008) U.A.V Predators are used in growing numbers in almost all the arenas of the war on terror with growing impact on the maneuverability and survival of terror operatives and leadership.
One thing U.A.V Predators cannot do yet is to sort out terrorists from their civilian surrounding. In the Palestinian territories one of the basic protective measure against Israeli U.A.V Predators is to be surrounded, at all times, by children and women or to assimilate into innocent civilian society.