One For the Good Guys:Sharpshooting Drones Pick off Pakistan Taliban Chief,"And His Chief Of Staff !"
A remotely controlled, unmanned aircraft is reported to have killed the head of the Taliban in Pakistan. You gotta love those drones - and their controllers.The strike that got Hakimullah Mehsud on Jan. 14 came five months after his predecessor was killed in a similar case of death from above.
There's lots of that going around. An 18-missile fusillade also killed 10 Islamic militants yesterday in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
Mehsud was an extra-appealing target because he claimed responsibility for sending the suicide bomber who infiltrated a CIA base in Afghanistan in December and killed five of the agency's officers and two civilian contractors.
Initially, the Taliban insisted Mehsud survived, which may have been true at the time. After locals told Pakistani TV he had succumbed, his minions insisted they didn't have to prove he was alive.
The AGM-114K HELLFIRE II missile features dual warheads for defeating reactive armor, electro-optical countermeasures hardening, semiactive laser seeker, and a digital autopilot that can be reprogrammed in flight for new targets and trajectory shaping. Hellfire II and Longbow Hellfire missiles are complementary. The combination of Hellfire II's precision guidance and Longbow Hellfire's fire-and-forget capability will provide the battlefield commander flexibility across a wide range of mission scenarios, permitting fast battlefield response and high mobility not afforded by other anti-armor weapons. The $65,000 Hellfire K that can acquire targets from altitudes of at least 15,000 ft. The AGM-114K missile is capable of operating with either pulsed radar frequency or A-Code laser codes for those aircraft equipped with dual code capability. Hellfire II incorporates many improvements over the Interim Hellfire missile, including solving the laser obscurant/backscatter problem, the only shortcoming identified during Operation Desert Storm. Other improvements include electro-optical countermeasure hardening, improved target reacquisition capability, an advanced technology warhead system capable of defeating reactive armor configurations projected into the 21st century, reprogrammability to adapt to changing threats and mission requirements, and shipboard compatibility. The Initial Production Facilitation and Production Qualification Test contract was awarded to Martin Marietta in November 1992. The initial production contract was awarded in May 1993, and the second production contract was awarded in February 1994.
AGM-114 Hellfire Specifications
Length 64.0 inches
Wing Span 12.8 inches
guidance section nose)
Weight 100.0 pounds
Net Explosive Weight 35.2 pounds