A group of militants recently took a shot at an Air Force C-130 Hercules — and got their asses handed to them in the process.
A new video, published by the Air Force's 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada on April 6 and first flagged by our friends at The War Zone, details an encounter between the hostile force and an Air Force military transport plane over an undisclosed location.
While the video does not detail the time and location of the incident, it does feature an account of the mission from 1st Lt. Russell and Airman First Class Ashley, a pair of MQ-9 operators assigned to the 20th Attack Squadron who immediately swung into action following the attack.
The MQ-9 Reaper was initially in the area to conduct armed overwatch for the C-130's airdrop to “severely undersupplied” forces at the undisclosed outpost.
“Most of the time we're just watching,” 1st Lieutenant Russel says in the video. “We're collecting information on enemies and just making sure our friendlies are safe and sometimes that involves us providing armed overwatch, which is our capability to strike enemies.”
In this case, the Reaper's infrared sensors immediately captured the near miss.
“We immediately see from the bottom right corner of our screen a projectile come … towards the C-130,” Russel says in the video. “The sensor immediately slewed to the right corner of origin.”
After the MQ-9 video feed identified a handful of suspected militants leaving a video near that point of origin, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller on the ground pulled up the footage and tasked the MQ-9 to engage the militants, a process that took just about 34 minutes.
“We found the bad guys on the ground, tracked them for a little bit, and ended up prosecuting [a strike],” Ashley says in the video.
“If we weren't there for the C-130 drop, the bad guys could have gotten away and that's the worst scenario,” she added. “They get away free and they do it again and very well could hit their target.”
Watch the full video below and read about the footage in more detail at The War Zone: