The Iraqi troops claim to have shot down and captured a British Army Phoenix drone near Basra, according to Jane's Defence Weekly.The truck-launched, 5.5 meter wide Phoenix unmanned planes have been used for nearly five years as reconnaissance planes; they put in over 2,000 hours of flights over Kosovo.But in Gulf War II, the drones took on a new mission: to identify targets for British artillery, like the AS90 155mm self-propelled howitzer and Multiple Launch Rocket System.Unlike the Afghan conflict, we haven't heard much about drones getting shot down in Gulf War II. Why not? My guess is that the slow, steady bombing of Iraqi anti-aircraft positions in the months leading up to ground combat have given unmanned planes like the Predator unfettered access to the skies. And, of course, the Iraqis have tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground to worry about. Maybe they can't be bothered with a few robots in the air.

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