Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Introdution
Home ] UAV ] [ Introdution ] Operational History ] How RQ-1 works ] Info About RQ-1 Predator ] Pictures ]

 

• Home •

• Back • Next •

 

RQ-1 Predator Introduction

The RQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which theUS Air Force describes as a "medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system." The aircraft can carry, and use, two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft has been in use since 1995, and been in combat over Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Yemen. Since the end of 2004 it is also used by the Italian Air Force.

The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance; "Q" means unmanned aircraft system. The "1" describes it as being the first of a series of purpose-built unmanned reconnaissance aircraft systems. The "A" says it is the pre-production version of the RQ-1 system series while the "B" denotes the baseline production configuration.

The related RQ-1 Mariner is an adaptation of the Predator for the U.S. Navy.

Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flies on a simulated Navy aerial reconnaissance flight off southern California in December 1995. (Nose is to the left)
Enlarge

Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flies on a simulated Navy aerial reconnaissance flight off southern California in December 1995. (Nose is to the left)

It is a Joint Forces Air Component Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Force commander. The Predator can be employed in moderate risk areas without risking the life of the operator. Examples include areas where enemy air defenses have not been fully suppressed, open ocean environments, and biologically or chemically contaminated environments.

Roles and Missions

According to the Air Force, the Predator is a "Joint Forces Air Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Force commander." Because the Predator is unmanned it is suitable for deployment in "moderate risk areas", unsecured air space, "open ocean environments, and biological or chemical contaminated environments." In addition, as the October 2001 attacks in Afghanistan have illustrated, the Predator can now perform a search and destroy mission with no apparent risk to US military personnel.

The Predator system was designed in response to a United States Department of Defense requirement to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to the war fighter. It was the first successful advanced concept technology demonstration to transition to production and fielding. This is a new acquisition process designed to reduce costs and development time by relying on commercial off-the-shelf technology to the maximum extent possible. In April 1996, the United States Secretary of Defense selected the United States Air Force as the operating service for the RQ-1A Predator system. The 11th and 15th reconnaissance squadrons, Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada, currently operate the RQ-1A/B.

 

Statistics of the RQ-1

  • System Cost: US$25 million (1999)
  • Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated
  • Landing Type: runway
  • Launch Type: runway
  • Power Plant:
    • RQ-1A: Rotax 912 four cylinder 60 kW engine
    • RQ-1B: 914 four cylinder turbo-charged 78 kW engine
  • Ceiling: 7.6 to 13.7 km (4.7 to 8.5 miles)
  • Endurance: 16 to 40 h
  • Fuel Capacity: 450 L (120 US gallons)
  • Length: 8.2 m (27 ft)
  • Height: 2.1 m (7 ft)
  • Payload: 204 kg (450 lb)
    • Armament: two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
  • Weight: 431 kg empty; 1020 kg max
  • Wingspan: 14.8 m (48.7 ft)
  • Velocity: 135 km/h (84 mile/h) (cruise); 220 km/h (140 mile/h) (max)

Back to top