Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot's Story Hardcover – November 12, 2010
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"...a fascinating tale of the challenges of flying a touchy, mule-stubborn, expensive robot from half a world away."
"Be prepared to mentally strap yourself into the pilot's seat while reading this book. The author takes the reader through the streets of Balad, Baghdad, and other trouble areas of Iraq during his tour of duty. There is, however, one major difference. Martin himself was not actually seated in the plan, but flying it remotely, sometimes as far away as Nellis Air Force base in Nevada."
"...gives readers an excellent sense of what it feels like to control an MQ-1B."
Midwest Book Review
"Predator offers a fine first-person account of fighting the global wars on terror. Predator missions and personal insights into a program only recently classified as 'secret' make for exciting stories of armed insurgency and urban warfare, bringing a 'you are there' feel to the idea of the Predator - a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) - as a cold killing machine. No military collection should be without this unique assessment."
Bookviews by Alan Caruba
"Predator tells how this remotely piloted aircraft has had an impact on the modern battlefield. Superb in its ability to provide reconnaissance and to deliver death to the enemy with Hellfire missiles, these aircraft have a crew that are sometimes a half a world away from the missions they’re flying. Lt. Col. Martin provides a first-person account of the fight against global terrorism. It is filled with exciting stories of chasing and attacking armed insurgents in Baghdad or across the desert countryside. Because of the television cameras, the crews experience warfare more closely than traditional bomber crews."
From the Inside Flap
The MQ-1 Predator is a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) used for forward observation and reconnaissance as well as targeted attacks with its two Hellfire missiles. Frequently referred to as a drone or even a robot in the press, the insectlike craft is sometimes spoken of as though it were an autonomous machine, coldly killing according to its programming. In reality, the RPA has a crew like any other aircraft—except for the fact that the crew is not on board, but safely on the ground and sometimes half a world away from the missions they’re flying.
Predator is Lt. Col. Matt J. Martin's first-person account of fighting the Global War on Terror over Iraq and Afghanistan from the controls of an RPA. From his training in Nevada to being stationed in Iraq—where his base came under attack even if he was "safe" on the ground during Predator missions—Martin provides personal insights into a program that until recently was largely classified secret.
There are exciting stories of chasing and attacking armed insurgents in Baghdad and the desert countryside as well as heart-wrenching accounts of the inevitable collateral damage of urban warfare. Ironically, due to monitors fed by the Predator's targeting camera, even if stationed far away from the action, these crews witness the effects of their attacks far more closely than traditional bomber crews physically present above their targets. Regardless of where the reader stands on the war, the myth of the Predator as a cold killing machine is put to rest through the struggles of the people serving in these remote-controlled battles against insurgents and terrorists.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Martin was a college ROTC Air Force Officer who wanted to become a fighter pilot but who then wanted to fly for the Air Force. He took the opportunity as soon as he could to pilot Predator drones and became one of the first group of pilots to fly the plane. One of the remarkable things about the predator is that it is flown in Iraq and Afghanistan from US soil except for landing and takeoff that are done by crews on base. Martin relates how strange it is to drive to work in a US city, work flying an aircraft observing and striking at the Taliban and then return home for dinner.
The book provides more detail about the Predator than the interesting but flawed Wired For War. The weaknesses in the system are discussed. The Ku band data link used by the vehicle sometimes goes down and the plane flies itself autonomously. However during these times any target being tracked is lost. Predators have also had fairly high loss rates due to accidents while few, if any, have been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan due to hostile fire.
The Predator carries Hellfire missiles that allow targets to be struck very accurately. Initially the command loop for using these missiles was very time-consuming and insurgents were often able to escape before an order to fire was received but the way in which the drones are controlled has been changed.
The book is also interspersed with descriptions that Martin uses to describe himself that feel a little contrived. His description of his relationship with his wife is better done. There is also a bit of the usual office gossip in a military setting of these books. Martin also gives his view of the war which is the very standard US military view of how righteous the US military is and how he is 'saving lives' which is a bit strange. His inability to see that perhaps the US killing people on the other side of the planet in their country may be a little morally ambiguous, to say the least, is probably what you need to be a successful soldier in an imperial army though.
Martin's descriptions of hitting civilians when attacking insurgents are heartfelt and he conveys his own sense of sorrow well. He also legitimately rationalises the actions of the Predator as being far more precise that most airborne weapons. Given this Martin makes an interesting point that he has to get more authorisation to fire a Hellfire than a fighter has to get to drop thousands of kilograms of bombs. Martin also gives figures and relates how he believes that the Predators are, contrary to some accounts, efficient in terms of the numbers of insurgents they kill compared to the numbers of civilians killed. He also points out that insurgents deliberately hide in friendly civilian dwellings in order to make it so that civilian casualties will occur if they are attacked.
The book is an interesting insight into what is likely to become a far more common way of fighting in the twenty-first century. Martin's account is an account of a pioneer flying a new kind of aircraft in conflict. It's well worth reading for anyone interested in robotics or in the conflicts that the US is now fighting in.
Narrative jumps around a bit; some exposition on drones -> UAVs -> UCAVs that slows it a bit. But as a first-person account of a critical subject it's first-rate.