New videos show Predators at work in Iraq
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newly released military video reveals unmanned U.S. Predators firing Hellfire missiles to rescue U.S. troops under fire in Iraq and destroy insurgent targets.
The U.S. Air Force released 10 video clips Tuesday in response to requests from CNN and other television networks. The black and white footage, all from the summer and fall of 2004, shows what officials say are insurgents planting roadside bombs, firing at U.S. positions and gathering to attack U.S. troops.
The video came from sensors on Air Force Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, which can operate several miles away from positions they target and monitor.
Predators can either be armed or unarmed. The video came from armed aircraft.
Some of the footage was a clip of Marines under sniper assault during an August battle in Najaf. A Predator responds to a call for air support and fires Hellfire missiles at the building housing the sniper. The building crumbles in an explosion.
Another clip shows insurgents gathered around armed trucks. The cross-hairs of the Predator locks onto one of the trucks and a missile destroys it.
Air Force officials did not provide many details about the footage.
Pilots more than 7,000 miles away in Nevada, control the unmanned planes from their post at Nellis Air Force Base. Their sophisticated cockpits resemble a high-priced video game.
Predator crews, which have a pilot and sensor operator, run the craft 24 hours, rotating in three-hour shifts. Predator teams are trained to look for signs of insurgent activity such as the planting of roadside bombs.
The Air Force uses the planes for reconnaissance and attack missions, but ground troops also provide information about target locations, Air Force officials say. Langley Air Force Base in Virginia analyzes images Predators gather.
Most of the Air Force's 58 Predators are deployed around the world, but officials could not discuss the locations.