Thursday, December 15, 2011

Predator Drone Dimensions

Predator Drone Dimensions

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

he General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Initially conceived in the early 1990s for reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

The USAF describes the Predator as a "Tier II" MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or "air vehicles" with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite. Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nautical miles (740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base.

Following 2001, the RQ-1 Predator drone became the primary UAV used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas; it has also been deployed elsewhere. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified, U.S. military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance-gathering abilities of UAVs but declined to publicly discuss their offensive use.

Civilian applications have included border enforcement and scientific studies.

Role Remote piloted aircraft, UAV
Manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
First flight July 1994
Introduction July 1995
Status In service
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 1995–present
Number built 360 (285 RQ-1, 75 MQ-1)
Program cost US$2,387 million (2011)
Unit cost US$4.5 million to US$10 million (FY1997, based on 4 aircraft and equipment)
Developed from General Atomics GNAT
Variants General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle
Developed into General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper