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IAI / TRW RQ-5 Hunter

Mutil-Role Short-Range Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

IAI / TRW RQ-5 Hunter

Mutil-Role Short-Range Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


The IAI Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is operated by two personnel in a ground control station, offering full control over the aircraft component.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Israel
YEAR: 1996
MANUFACTURER(S): TRW (Northrop Grumman) - USA / Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - Israel
OPERATORS: France; Belgium; Philippines; United States

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the IAI / TRW RQ-5A Hunter model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 22.31 feet (6.8 meters)
WIDTH: 28.87 feet (8.8 meters)
HEIGHT: 5.58 feet (1.7 meters)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 1,603 pounds (727 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Moto-Guzzi 4 stroke, 2-cylinder pusher-puller gasoline engines of 64 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 127 miles-per-hour (204 kilometers-per-hour; 110 knots)
RANGE: 162 miles (260 kilometers; 140 nautical miles)
CEILING: 15,000 feet (4,572 meters; 2.84 miles)

Payload of up 200lbs consisting of observation, communications and countermeasures equipment.

1 x GBU-44/B "Viper Strike" munition (MQ-5A/B)

Series Model Variants
• Hunter - Original UAV Design
• Extended Hunter - increased sized and capabilities over original Hunter design.
• RQ-5A - US Military UAV Designation
• B-Hunter - Belgium Hunter UAV produced by IAI; incorporated automatic landing and take-off (ATLND) system.
• MQ-5A/B - Armed Version with Northrop Grumman GBU-44/B "Viper Strike" munition.


Detailing the development and operational history of the IAI / TRW RQ-5 Hunter Mutil-Role Short-Range Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  Entry last updated on 5/8/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Hunter is a large Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and was first introduced in 1996 in limited numbers with the United States Army. The system performed admirably well in support of Operation Allied Force over Kosovo where its real-time imagery and communications proved vital. The system was designed in Israel and was fielded by the government militaries of the United States of America, Belgium and France.

The Hunter design features a distinct twin-boom arrangement and straight edges making it appear very much like the Vietnam-era Rockwell OV-10 Bronco observation two-man aircraft unveiled some decades before (interesting correlation as both conduct the same type of operations to an extent). Another distinct design element is the use of twin engines, one mounted forward and one aft of the fuselage operating in a "push-pull" environment reminiscent of some failed World War 2 aircraft designs. Wings are of a straight monoplane design and mounted to the middle-rear of the fuselage portion. The twin booms connect at rear with a horizontal plane and feature twin vertical tail fins. The undercarriage is static.

The Hunter was born out of a US army need in the late 1980's joint unmanned aerial vehicle program that included the United Navy and Marine branches as well. TRW and Israeli Air Industries were tapped for their design and production of limited-quantity units for operational development beginning with an initial delivery of some seven systems. Like all early UAV systems, the Hunter was initially introduced as an observation / reconnaissance platform providing real-time imagery, target acquisition, artillery adjustment and general surveillance on the modern battlefield. Only later developments of UAVs would yield offensive ordnance and increase the potentiality of UAV systems in general.

The relatively small-sized and ruggedly constructed Hunter can operate from complete or semi-paved surfaces. Rocket assistance (RATO) can further its short take-off and landing capabilities if need be. Standard power is derived from twin Moto-Guzzi 60 horsepower engines. Landing can be equally assisted through the use of arrestor cables. Features of the Hunter UAV include an integrated global positioning system (GPS), forward-looking infrared FLIR, laser designator, VHF/UHF communications and electronic countermeasures. Operation is conducted through a land-based GCS-3000 Ground Control Station (GCS), a vehicle manned by two operators - one controlling flight and the other controlling the payload functions. A Remote Video Terminal (RVT) can operate independently of the GCS or in conjunction with it through a direct link up.

The "Extended" Hunter UAV is nothing more than a high-altitude, longer endurance version of the original Hunter UAV concept. Extended Hunter can traverse the atmosphere at up to 20,000 feet, features a wingspan double the original Hunter and improved range. B-Hunter features an automatic landing system. And is operated by Belgium which purchased six aircraft and two stations in 1998. The Hunter system has seen operational action in Macedonia/Kosovo, where one was reportedly lost to enemy fire within days of deployment. Though in limited use on today's advancing battlefield, the Hunter UAV was recently used to patrol America's southern border with Mexico in 2004.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (127mph).

Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the IAI / TRW RQ-5A Hunter's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (13)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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