War in the Balkans: `I roll in, put my system on the vehicle and execute...'

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The Independent Online
THIS ACCOUNT of the attack on the convoy was given by the unnamed American fighter pilot of the first aircraft in a debriefing session. A recording of the debriefing was played yesterday at a Nato briefing session in Brussels.

THE PILOT started by saying that as he flew at 15,000ft over South-west Kosovo he saw what he took to be systematic burning of villages by Serb forces.

"I work my way back up to the road and I see another house that had just been set ablaze and a three-vehicle convoy moving South-east about a click (kilometre) from the freshest burning house. They come to a stop at the next house down the road.

"I am convinced now the VJ (Yugoslav Army) and MUF (Ministry of Interior police) forces, working their way down towards Djakovica and the refugees, are preparing to set this next house on fire.

"(I made several passes) "to ensure that they are in fact military vehicles. I roll in on two passes to get a close look both with my eyeballs and my targeting pod.

"I make a decision at that point that these are the people responsible for burning down the villages that I have seen so far. I roll in, put my system on the lead vehicle and execute a laser-guided bomb attack on that vehicle destroying the lead vehicle."

The pilot then said that his aircraft was low on fuel and had to pull out of the area. He then described how he then passed on the target co- ordinates and a general description of the vehicles to another pilot who then also attacked.