An Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle fired one of its Hellfire missiles, killing three insurgents in the act of planting an improvised explosive devise near Balad AB, Iraq. US Central Command Air Forces officials say the Predator monitored the insurgents for 30 minutes, relaying images of the trio as they dug a hole in a road, set an explosive, and strung wire from the hole to a ditch beside the road. Brig. Gen. Frank Gorenc , the commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad, said that information led CENTAF officials to assign the Predator to monitor the area.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.