Obama OKs Armed Predator Drones in Libya

Unmanned craft will take out Gadhafi targets
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2011 3:14 PM CDT
Obama OKs Armed Predator Drones in Libya
In this 2010 file photo, a US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – President Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drone aircraft in Libya to improve the precision of low-level attacks on ground targets, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today. The first Predator mission was flown today, but the unmanned aircraft—armed with Hellfire missiles—turned back early because of poor weather conditions, said Marine Gen. James Cartwright.

"President Obama has said that where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those," Gates said. What the Predators "bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions," added Cartwright. "They are uniquely suited for urban areas." (Read more Robert Gates stories.)

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