Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: MQ-1, RQ-1A Predator and RQ-1E Predator XP
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The Predator is a medium altitude, long endurance, unmanned aerial vehicle system for use in risk areas minimizing to human life. It is a theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of Joint Force commander. General Atomics had developed a complete family of unmanned aerial vehicles based on Predator to meet the needs of of a wide range of customers both civil and military. Predator family includes Predator B, I-GNAT, Altus, Altair, Warrior and I-GNAT ER which are operated by the United States Armed Forces, NASA, NOAA and the US government as well as by the Italian Air Force and the Turkish Army.
The RQ-1A/B is a system consisting of 4 Predator air vehicles, a ground control station (GCS), a Predator primary satellite link communication suite, and 55 people for continuous 24-hour operations. The Predator UAV has C-band line-of-sight data-link or a Ku-band satellite data-link for beyond line-of-sight operations. The payload can be a CCD-TV camera, a variable aperture Infrared camera, and a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for looking through smoke, clouds and haze. On the RQ-1B, either the CCD-TV or IR camera may be operated simultaneously with the SAR. For ease of operation and rapid deployment, each Predator UAV can be disassembled into 6 main components and loaded in a container. A 5,000 by 125 feet (1,524 by 38 meters) runway is requested for UAVs takeoff and land operations. The improved RQ-1B Predator UAV features an ARC-210 radio, APX-100 IFF, ice mitigation system, upgraded engine, and validated technical orders for operations and maintenance.
The Predator UAV was successfully employed during operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom over Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. The US Air Force is the sole Predator operator in the United States. In late September 2004, the Predator air vehicle achieved the 100,000 flight hours milestone with approximately 70,000 combat flight hours. This milestone was accomplished during a routine combat mission over Iraq conducted by US Air Force P-61 air vehicle September 27. In October 2005 the US Air Force took delivery of the 125th Predator aircraft and announced that the third full rate production contract planned for 2006 was set for a maximum of 36 and a minimum of 7 aircraft. The US Air Force MQ-1 Predator is slated for retirement on July 1, 2017.
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