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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Military Equipment Used For Surveillance of Afghanistan

Aired September 27, 2001 - 06:11   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, at this stage of the operation it is likely that satellites and unmanned spy planes are being used to get surveillance information on Afghanistan as U.S. forces are gathering in the Gulf region.

So we're going to toss it to Donna Kelley. She's going to take us to the map to see exactly what's being used out there when it comes to gathering information in a very remote place.

Morning, Donna.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Carol, thanks very much.

You might remember that the Taliban claimed to have shot down an unmanned spy plane on Saturday, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that the Untied States had lost contact with one and said that that can actually happen on its own in fact. But U.S. government sources tell CNN that that spy plane was doing some intelligence gathering for the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, and there you can take a look at the region as we talk about what can happen. We're going to take a closer look, actually, at what the unmanned spy planes or the drones, as their called, can do. There are two main drones: the Predator and the Global Hawk.

The Predator, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, has real time surveillance capabilities. So if it's happening right now, military folks can see it. It's like when we show live pictures of an event on CNN. If it's going on right then, then you're seeing it as it happens. It can operate up to 26,000 feet, has a 400 nautical mile range and can stay in the air for 24 hours. It was a Predator that was lost somewhere over Afghanistan, and it does fly at lower altitudes and so that makes it an easier target for anti-aircraft attacks. The Predator costs about $3.2 million.

And then there's the Global Hawk. It also can do real time surveillance, but this one can zoom up to 50,000 to 60,000 feet high. It has a longer nautical mile range of 1,200 miles. And like the Predator, also can stay up for about 24 hours -- Carol.

LIN: Donna, are there any manned spy missions going on over Afghanistan? KELLEY: Yes, there sure are, Carol. There are some options there that the United States has in the manned department, but we need to stress, though, that these probably will not be used until there's some sort of military strike that is underway. Among the United States' resources, the U2 is a long-range, high altitude plane. It's not built for combat, and you know, the pilot actually wears a space suit.

The E-3 Sentry AWACS. AWACS stands for, by the way, Airborne Warning and Control System. It does surveillance and command and control for air battles. It can go eight hours plus without refueling.

There are E-8 J-Stars. They look at ground positions of the enemy so it can be used for command and control on the battlefield and then it gets information back in real time to stations on the ground as well.

EA-6B Prowler is available. That plane comes off an aircraft carrier and it protects strike planes and ground troops and it can jam electronic communications on the enemy.

So you probably heard from the Pentagon that they are not about to give away the play book, any information that will compromise operations or certainly anyone's life, so how many, when and what battle group or aircraft carrier they might launch these missions from will probably be reported as or after it's happened.

LIN: Yes, I think we're betting on after.

KELLEY: Carol.

LIN: Thanks so much. Donna Kelley with a big preview of the hardware available to look inside a very remote place.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting stuff there.

LIN: Yes.

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