Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: RQ-2A Pioneer
Origin: United States of America
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Parent System: RQ-2 Pioneer
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1986
Total Production: ?
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Description: RQ-2 Pioneer is a land-based and shipborne Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system developed by Pioneer UAV Inc. in the 1980s. The US Navy (1986), Marine Corps (1987) and Army (1990) procured this UAV to conduct Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) as well as battle damage assessment missions. Its low radar cross section (RCS), reduced silhouette and infrared signature are key elements for aircraft survivability. It is powered by a gasoline motor developing 26-hp.
RQ-2A Pioneer was initially fielded as a land-based asset in 1986. Subsequently, was deployed on battleship USS Iowa (BB 61), USS Wisconsin (BB 64) and three LHA vessels (1987). In the 1990s the US Navy has deployed Pioneer on five/six Austin-class Landing Platform Docks (LPDs). Pioneer saw combat during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1990 - 1991. USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin employed Pioneer as RSTA with devastating effects against Iraqi coastal defenses in Kuwait.
The US Navy should begin replacing Pioneer at the end of this decade with versatile Fire Scout UAV which is undergoing trials to deliver precision guided weapons in addition to RSTA capabilities. RQ-2B is an improved variant. As of early 2006, this UAV was deployed onboard LPD-4, LPD-7, LPD-9, LPD-12 and LPD-15 (LPD-6 was decommissioned in 2005).
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