Information Warfare: April 28, 2003

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One of the mysteries of the Iraq war had to do with the much televised search of the waterways in Baghdad for the "downed coalition pilot." Well, the Iraqis were right about one thing, there was a downed coalition aircraft. Actually, there were two of them. But they were Predator UAVs sent on a suicide mission to probe Baghdad's air defenses. The two UAVs were rather worn out and ready for the scrap heap. But they could be flown at least one more time, and were sent up without any of their recon equipment. Throughout the night, the Predators criss crossed the city while American electronic warfare aircraft overhead listened in for the Iraqi reactions and countermeasures. Neither Predator was hit by anti-aircraft fire. As dawn approached, their fuel ran out. One UAV crashed into a lake, the other into Tigris river. While unmanned, Predators are fairly large (27 feet long with a wingspan of 49 feet.) In the predawn murk, a Predator crashing into the river could look bigger, like something that carried a pilot. By going into the water, it was not immediately obvious to the Iraqis that the pilot they were looking for was from an unmanned aircraft. Thus the massive pilot search, spurred on by the large cash reward the government was offering for whoever brought the pilot in.


 


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