Why They Call it Reaper: MQ-1 Brings the FOOM!

Please enjoy the following video, courtesy of the US Central Command. In which a splodydope-piloted VBIED gets returned to kit form at approximately 58,000 feet per second. You will need a heart of stone not to chortle with glee.

The vehicle in question is a ISIL specialty, an armored-up truck or military vehicle converted to a command-detonated VBIED, with the crew and (usually) the commander who commits the vehicle having a FOOM switch. (The commander, observing, keys the switch if his boys get cold feet. The coward may die a thousand times in Shakespeare, but in ISIL he only gets one shot, no pun intended).

The vehicle is hardened against small arms fire by improvised armor made from steel plate. If you look closely, you can see that the armor on the ISIL vehicle in the video is slanted to increase thickness and deflect more projectiles, in the style of German WWII armored cars and halftracks. The guys who drive these things are suicidal idiots, but the guys who build and dispatch them are not.

File photo of a more lightly armored one from a few years back in Iraq:

Comparing that to the VBIED in the video you can see how much the technology has evolved in the last few years — not that it can prevent a HEAT round like the¬†Hellfire missile from finding the truck’s¬†explosive filling and producing a mighty secondary.

The crew is usually a single splodydope but sometimes the count-the-body-parts method reveals a crew of two or more, presumably as another measure to prevent abandonment of mission by the kamikaze volunteer.

But there’s no reason to let them bring the FOOM to their desired location. With the good guys retaining command of the air, these truck bomber wannabes are perfect for droning.

It’s a win-win all round, a rare commonality of objectives in the Middle East: they want to die for their moon god Baal, aka Allah, and we just want them to die.

23 thoughts on “Why They Call it Reaper: MQ-1 Brings the FOOM!

  1. DSM

    On a moving vehicle like that a Hellfire is the way to go. Hopefully they can get those PGM 2.75in rockets flight tested for the UCAVs. Sling two 19-shot pods under each wing with all that loiter time? You could poke holes in things all day long.

  2. Sommerbiwak

    With all the welded on steel plates these VBIED are easily identifieable.
    Makes you wonder when the derkaderka suiciders start to make their human guided bombs look more like normal cars or trucks to not be easily targeted from above.

      1. Sommerbiwak

        Good point.

        They are building their “guided truck bombs” in barns, garages, cellars etc. to not be found from above and stopped in their DIY car imorovement already. So they are only visible and not under cover when moving, which most of the time will be the final ride to Allah I guess.

        1. OBob

          From the imagery I’ve seen from Mosul, they’re trying to keep them well hidden until needed to make a quick dash to their target before aircraft can react, sometimes successfully.

          In the last months in Mogadishu we would get overhead imagery about twice a week from the Navy of three factions’ garages/technical factories and would compare them to see what vehicles had been moved where. Every night with nvgs I’d see the tell tale UV flash of welding going on a 2 and 3 am as it leaked through cracks in doors and windows. I left a few days before the Marines did the roll back off of the beach but the gangs all husbanded their resources near the end for a final mad max battle royale for the airport as the Marines left. They wisely decided their best interest was fighting each other rather than the guys who were leaving anyway, and it made for some epic video. 9th ID had nothin’ on slim!

  3. robroysimmons

    Next thing you know they will use drones for CAS and not F-35s the warmest kindest and bests plane on the planet.

    1. James

      Yeah, not to nitpick. The RPV in the video is a RQ-1 Predator (upside down tail), but the Reaper is a much more capable MQ-9 Reaper and is likely the subject of the story being told by the narrator.

      1. James

        Oops, at the beginning the operator says he’s flying a RQ-1 Predator. So it wasn’t a MQ-9 Reaper afterall.

  4. Aesop

    Combat awards for this guy? PTSD treatment?
    F**K no.
    But one helluva “Attaboy!” commendation?
    Hell yeah!

    One would think with the amount of coverage in the area, they’d be able to backtrack the thing to its launch point, and arrange for a little visit by some building inspectors with appropriate weaponry.

    And screw the “recruiting PR for ISIS” bilge, we should be putting these videos on YouTube (or for that matter, hacking them onto Al Jazeera), dubbed into common Arabic, with a laugh track and an emcee, and gales of derisive laughter when the Hellfire delivers the punchline; basically rhetorically pissing on the drivers’ heads.

    “Don’t be stupid, boys. We’ll blow you away for nothing from 40,000 feet, then we’ll go after your boss. Dirka dirka from Bakalakadaka Street! America, f**k yeah! … I’m James Mattis, and I approved this message.”

    1. Air

      The problem is that so much is being collected that you can’t find what you need… Lousy cataloging capability and poor search, discovery and retrieval tools for full motion imagery… but we’re working on it…

  5. tom

    Cool stuff, but I have trouble looking at these things the same way after reading Bracken’s Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy.

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