Task Force ODIN
Task Force ODIN, whose name is an acronym for Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize, is a United States Army aviation battalion created in August 2006 to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) operations to combat insurgent operators of improvised explosive devices in Iraq.
The unit was formed at Fort Hood, Texas, and first deployed in October 2006. An Army article says the unit is meant to meet "the critical requirement to 'win back the roads' using Army Aviation assets to maintain a persistent stare over demonstrated at-risk areas for IEDs." Army leaders said they created the unit because the United States Air Force provided inadequate or inaccurate close air support.
ODIN is the Army's only unit that flies the MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle. Built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the extended-range multi-purpose hybrid UAV has an advanced sensor package incorporating electro-optical sensors, including FLIR, and synthetic aperture radar together with a laser rangefinder and a laser designator, the latter for "painting" targets for strikes with Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.
The Army is forming a similar unit in Afghanistan. After "Operation New Dawn" (OND), TF ODIN was temporarily positioned in an undisclosed location until further movement into Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. There are many sub-divisions in the Task Force: Highlighter, Desert Owl and Night Eagle to name a few.
According to General David Petraeus in August 2010, during the previous 90 days in Afghanistan information provided by ODIN had resulted in the killing or capture of 365 militant leaders, detained 1,335 insurgent foot soldiers, and killed another 1,031 Taliban.
- Shanker, Thom (22 June 2008). "At Odds With Air Force, Army Adds Its Own Aviation Unit". New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
- "Task Force ODIN Using Innovative Technology to Support Ground Forces". Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- Roosevelt, Ann, "The Need For Combat Aviation Continues, Increases, General Says", Defense Daily, 1 August 2008.
- "Unmanned Aerial System First to Fire Missiles in Combat". Multinational Force - Iraq Official Website. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- Ackerman, Spencer, "Drones Surge, Special Ops Strike In Petraeus Campaign Plan", Wired News, 18 August 2010.