I'm intrigued by today's news of a Philippine Air Force air
strike against a terrorist camp on the southern island of Sulu. According to
reports, a pair of PAF OV-10 Broncos dropped four 500lb bombs during the 3am
raid, killing 15 terrorists (2000lbs of HE packs a hell of a punch). Among the
casualties was one terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head and two other senior terrorists.
The reports indicated that a US drone provided support during the raid. While I have the utmost respect for the men of the PAF and acknowledge that the Bronco is one of the great counter insurgency (COIN) aircraft of all time, I was not aware that PAF OV-10s possessed the capability to carry out a precision strike like this in the dead of night. And wouldn't the noise of the OV-10's engines have alerted the terrorists that something was up?
There is something fishy here. What, exactly, is the nature of this US drone support? While it is certainly possible that a US MQ-1 Predator could have designated the targets for the Broncos, it's also entirely possible that this lethal raid is the work of an MQ-9 Reaper. Or, could the shooter have been a US Navy or USAF platform flying at high altitude? Hmmm.