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IAI RQ-2 Pioneer

Israel (1986)

Detailing the development and operational history of the IAI RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

 Entry last updated on 6/16/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  IAI RQ-2 Pioneer  
Picture of IAI RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The RQ-2 Pioneer truly lived up to her namesake in the realm of UAV technology, seeing action beginning with the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

The RQ-2 Pioneer series of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) was one of the first operational UAVs utilized by the United States military. It initially served aboard surface naval warships as an artillery tool before eventually being devoted wholly to aerial observation of the battlefield overland. Though not as flashy or powerful as the new generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the Pioneer was truly just that, a pioneering vehicle that laid down the foundation for an entire UAV family of aircraft that presently serve with the United States military.

Design of the RQ-2 produced an aircraft-like aerodynamic fuselage with equipment mounted at front and the single Sachs 2-stroke, 2-cylinder 26 horsepower gasoline piston engine at rear. Wings were mounted high and to the rear of the fuselage and were of a straight edge variety and supported underneath by struts. Twin booms extended aft and were joined by a horizontal plane with twin vertical fins rounding out the empennage. The undercarriage was statically deployed.
The Pioneer developed from a joint agreement between Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and AAI Corporation. The system was designed form the outset to perform a variety of unarmed battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance roles and could be launched from land (via catapult or runway) or at sea (via catapult or rocket assist) returning to vessels by way of net or arrestor hook. Flying times varied depending on the overall payload weight but several hours could be achieved. The strength in the Pioneer system lay in its ability to relay real-time information through analog video by way of a line-of-sight (LOS) data link. The RQ-2 Pioneer system was put into action in the Persian Gulf War of 1991, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq under the operational US branches of the Army, Navy and Marines. It also saw service with forces sponsored by Israel and Singapore.
IAI RQ-2 Pioneer Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Year: 1986
Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): AAI Corporation - USA / Pioneer UAVs, Incorporated / Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) - Israel
Production: 20
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 2
Length: 13.12 ft (4 m)
Width: 17.06 ft (5.20 m)
Height: 3.28 ft (1.00 m)
MTOW: 452 lb (205 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Sachs 2-stroke, 2-cylinder gasoline piston engine developing 26 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 124 mph (200 kph; 108 kts)
Maximum Range: 115 mi (185 km; 100 nm)
Service Ceiling: 15,092 ft (4,600 m; 2.86 mi)


Operators List
Israel; Singapore; United States

Series Model Variants
• RQ-2 - Base Series Designation