The Reaper: A $64 Million Aircraft That Helped in Killing Iranian Commander Soleimani

Qassem Soleimani

Qassem Soleimani

 

The U.S. was aware of the travel plans of Qassem Soleimani and observed him while he was on his way to board the plane heading to Baghdad Airport. Even before Qassem Soleimani- the Iranian Commander gets down from a commercial aircraft in Baghdad last week, his doom was already potted.

His departure from the airplane in Iraq was watched by drones spinning above that included one built by closely-held General Atomics equipped with laser-guided Hellfire air-to-surface missiles frequently used in attacks on high-value terrorists.

A $64 million long-endurance aircraft with a 20-meter wingspan named ‘The Reaper’ helped in the killing of Iranian General-Qassem Soleimani. This aircraft had Soleimani in its sights for about 10 minutes before shooting the cars carrying him.

The chronology of events that led to the assassination of the Quds Force commander raised Mideast tensions and all this began hours earlier in Beirut. In the Lebanese capital, the U.S. was alert of Soleimani’s travel map and observed him boarding the plane headed to Baghdad International Airport. This was stated according to a U.S. official known with the strike.

Qassem Soleimani-the Iranian commander and other senior leaders and aides, including the head of an Iraqi-based militia group that has conflicted with U.S. forces, was strongly monitored by The Reaper, a $64 million long-endurance aircraft with a 20-meter (66-foot) wingspan about 10 minutes before striking the two cars carrying them.

It was with the help of the camera installed on The Reaper that identified Soleimani and determined his location in a vehicle. According to Brett Velicovich, a former Army special operations soldier who guided drone operations during missions in Iraq and Afghanistan said that The Reaper Aircraft even identified what kind of clothing Soleimani was wearing.

According to the official, car of Soleimani was the first in the two-car convoy as it drove down an access road leaving the airport and fall into second before it. So, the lead cars were hit by two Hellfires each with no civilian cars in sight.

The details of the attack seemed to substantiate what a separate U.S. official told reporters in Washington Friday. It stated that all steps were taken to diminish civilian casualties and that the target of opportunity was Iranian Commander- Soleimani. It also established that the U.S. preserves the potential to implement time-sensitive targeting and aerial attacks of adversaries if there is sufficient intelligence.

 

 


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Joseph Johnson

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