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General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / ISR Drone

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / ISR Drone

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has found success as an unarmed reconnaissance platform and as a missile-armed hunter.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1995
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Incorporated - USA
PRODUCTION: 365
OPERATORS: Italy; Morocco; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 0
LENGTH: 26.97 feet (8.22 meters)
WIDTH: 48.56 feet (14.8 meters)
HEIGHT: 6.89 feet (2.1 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 1,129 pounds (512 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 2,249 pounds (1,020 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Rotax 914F 4-cylinder engine developing 115 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit in pusher configuration.
SPEED (MAX): 135 miles-per-hour (217 kilometers-per-hour; 117 knots)
RANGE: 454 miles (730 kilometers; 394 nautical miles)
CEILING: 25,000 feet (7,620 meters; 4.73 miles)




ARMAMENT



OPTIONAL:
2 x AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided anti-tank missiles OR 2 x AIM-92 Stinger short-ranged anti-aircraft missile.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• RQ-1 - Initial Series Designation indicating primary reconnaissance role.
• RQ-1A - Preproduction designation of complete Predator UAV system (including ground control stations).
• RQ-1K - Preproduction designation of Predator airframes.
• RQ-1B - Production designation of complete Predator UAV system (including ground control ststations).
• RQ-1L - Production designation of Predator airframes.
• MQ-1 - Redesignation in 2002 indicating addition of armed reconnaissance role.
• MQ-1A - Provision for AGM-114 Hellfire or AIM-92 Stinger missiles; sans aperture radar functionality.
• MQ-1B - Revised antenna; fuselage spine VHF protrusion; dorsal and ventral intakes.
• MQ-1B Block 10/15 - Modernized avionics suite and communications control; revised tail unit.
• MQ-1C "Grey Eagle" - Upgraded Predator currently (2013) under development.
• Predator XP - Export Variant; sans all weapon capabilities.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / ISR Drone.  Entry last updated on 5/2/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
At a cost of about $40 million dollars per system, the RQ-1/MQ-1 Predator is a pricey yet integral part of US Air Force operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Operating by remote control, the Predator can cover a section of territory with excellent loitering endurance and not expose friendly aircrew to enemy fire or capture. As it stands, the US Air Force currently maintains some 97 General Atomics-produced Predators in its inventory and utilizes the system in both the reconnaissance and armed reconnaissance roles. The Predator began service as the RQ-1, indicating her strictly unarmed reconnaissance role. The designation of MQ-1 was appended in 2002 to indicate her new modified form for the armed reconnaissance role.

The Predator operates remotely under the supervision of three Air Force personnel - one pilot and two sensor operators - though a full team complement consists of 55 personnel. The system is fed input via ground equipment and a satellite-ready component known as the Predator Primary Satellite Link. Four Predator aircraft units make up one full Predator group while transportation of Predators is by C-130 Hercules. If operating from a runway in the traditional aircraft sense, the Predator requires very little surface area to land on and take-off from and landing itself is accomplished with a retractable tricycle landing gear system.

Flying the Predator is accomplished through a forward-mounted color camera which feeds real time information to the pilot controlling the unit via joystick while situated in the Ground Control Station. Additional infra-red and TV cameras are also fitted into the fuselage and can provide real-time and still image reconnaissance service. In the armed reconnaissance role, the Predator is seen fitted with two AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles - a munition more commonly associated with the AH-64 Apache combat helicopter - mounted under each wing and can be called on to engage ground-based vehicles through laser-guidance acquisition and targeting. In this mode, the Predator utilizes a powerful built-in laser illuminator / laser designator system with infra-red capability. Powered flight is attained from a single turbocharged Rotax 115 horsepower engine driving a rear-mounted propeller.




General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A) (Cont'd)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / ISR Drone

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A) (Cont'd)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / ISR Drone



In terms of performance, the MQ-1 can reach ceilings of up to 25,000 feet with a range of 454 miles at speeds of 135 miles per hour (though normal cruise speed is reported to be about 84 miles per hour). Wingspan for the unmanned craft measures in at nearly 49 feet and entire system unloaded weighs about 1,100 pounds - two facets that are hardly discernable through aerial images alone. As such, the Predator aircraft is not a smallish aircraft by any sense.

Incidentally, the Predator initially received the designation of RQ-1 with "R" indicating its reconnaissance role and "1" indicating the initial system series of purposely-built unmanned aircraft. "Q" is a designation meaning that this aircraft is unmanned. Since 2002, the system took on the more familiar MQ-1 designation to indicate the addition of an armed reconnaissance duty. The Predator currently appears with three Air Force reconnaissance squadrons.

The "Predator XP" variant is a reduced-capability variant of the Predator UAV for the export market available to nations in good standing with the United States. All armament features have been removed from these models in an effort to broaden its market appeal. The United Arab Emirates became the first customer of the product when, in February of 2013, a procurement order was officially announced.

Base production Predators (not XP models) are already operated in limited numbers by Italy, Morocco and Turkey.

Over 360 Predator units have been built to date.




MEDIA









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 Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (135mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
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  NYC
Graph showcases the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator (Predator A)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
365
365

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
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
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
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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.