In a very short time it will genuinely suck to be a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. Oh sure, the caves already are pretty dreadful, the food is terrible and there is the ever-present threat of NATO forces coming to call. But now, the US is sending in the new team: the Reapers.
CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Air Force this fall will deploy a new generation of pilotless airplane with the bombing power of an F-16 to help stop the stubborn Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
The Reaper is an upgraded version of the Predator, which has become one of the military's most sought-after planes since it first appeared in Afghanistan in 2001. The Reaper can fly three times as fast as a Predator and carry eight times more weaponry, such as Hellfire missiles, the Air Force said.
The Reaper's greater range and speed make it better suited than the Predator to Afghanistan with its vast, rugged terrain. The Reaper will also be deployed to Iraq. Its speed and arms will let it track and kill moving targets able to elude a Predator, said Brig. Gen. James Poss, director of intelligence for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
Air Force officials cite the June 2006 killing of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was tracked by a Predator but ultimately killed by bombs dropped by an F-16. The Reaper "is ideal for that type of target," said Lt. Col. Gregory Christ, director of staff at Creech.
Despite the Predator's success, field commanders wanted a faster, more lethal alternative, said Col. Charles Bartlett, leader of the Air Force's unmanned aircraft task force.
I've posted about the Reaper before. Things are about to get much worse for the Taliban.