Peacekeeping: Belgium Hunter B Busted In The Bush

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August19, 2006: Belgium sent several of its Hunter B UAVs to Congo, to support UN peacekeeping operations there. However, one of the UAVs was soon lost (at the end of July), when a single shot from an AK-47 brought it down. Examination of the wreckage showed that it was a lucky shot, which hit a key spar, that caused a wing to fold. The guy firing the shot was just popping off, for no particular reason. He was a local thug, not a member of any of the militias the peacekeepers were there to deal with.

The Israeli built Hunter UAV lost out to the Predator in the 1990s competition for an American battlefield UAV. But the U.S. Army kept in storage the ones it had, and put them back in action in time for the 1999 Kosovo operation. The 1600 pound Hunter can carry 200 pounds of sensors and weapons, and has an endurance of ten hours. It is used by Israeli armed forces, and those of several other nations as well.

UAVs are very popular with peacekeepers because a large part of the job is keeping track of lots of people. This has to be done with innocent civilians, and armed groups of bad guys. The civilians and hostiles often have no way to communicate over long distances, so the UAV is a lot more efficient than manned aircraft to track everyone down.

 


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