Sunday, December 13, 2009

MQ-1 Predator Drone

The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which the United States Air Force describes as a MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) UAV system. It can serve in a reconnaissance role and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.



The MQ-1 Predator is a system, not just an aircraft. The fully operational system consists of four air vehicles (with sensors), a ground control station (GCS), and a Predator primary satellite link communication suite. The U.S. Air Force considers the Predator unmanned aircraft system (UAS) a "Tier II" vehicle.






About UAV

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV; also known as a remotely piloted vehicle or RPV) is an aircraft that flies without a human crew. Their largest uses are in military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a reusable, uncrewed vehicle capable of controlled, sustained, level flight and powered by a jet or reciprocating engine. Therefore, cruise missiles are not considered UAVs, because, like many other guided missiles, the vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided.

There is a wide variety of UAV shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple drones (remotely piloted aircraft), but autonomous control is increasingly being employed in UAVs. UAVs come in two varieties: some are controlled from a remote location, and others fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans using more complex dynamic automation systems.

General characteristics

* Crew: none
* Length: 27 ft (8.22 m)
* Wingspan: 48.7 ft (14.8 m (dependent on block of aircraft))
* Height: 6.9 ft (2.1 m)
* Wing area: 123.3 sq ft (11.5 m²)
* Empty weight: 1,130 lb (512 kg)
* Loaded weight: 2,250 lb (1,020 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 2,250 lb (1,020 kg)
* Powerplant: 1× Rotax 914F turbocharged Four-cylinder engine, 115 hp (86 kW)

Predator Performance

* Maximum speed: 135 mph (117 knots, 217 km/h)
* Cruise speed: 81–103 mph (70–90 knots, 130–165 km/h)
* Stall speed: 62 mph (54 knots (dependent on weight of aircraft), 100 km/h)
* Range: >2,000 nm (3,704 km, 2,302 miles)
* Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Predator Armament

2 hard points

* 2 × AGM-114 Hellfire (MQ-1B)
* 2 × AIM-92 Stinger (unknown number) (MQ-1B)

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