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AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye

United States (2002)
Picture of AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Picture of AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Picture of AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
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Tthe AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye serves the United States Marine Corps by providing a critical eye-in-the-sky function over the battlefield.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  Entry last updated on 4/11/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq during the first decade of the present century allowed the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry to flourish and this led to the introduction of many unmanned, remotely-piloted systems. The AeroVironment RQ-14 "Dragon Eye" was one product of the period, a compact, tactical reconnaissance-minded drone first flying in June of 2001. It was introduced a year later and has seen considerable service with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as development was through the Naval Research Laboratory and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Some 1,000 units were contracted for.

Outwardly, the Dragon Eye exhibits a conventional aircraft form with a centralized fuselage containing all pertinent mission equipment, a monoplane wing assembly, and vertical tail fin. The aircraft lacks horizontal tailplanes and an integrated undercarriage while its wing mainplanes are broad and straight in their design. The UAV's propulsion comes from a pair of two-bladed electric drive motors arranged ahead of the wing leading edges to either side of the fuselage. Dimensions of this aircraft include a wingspan of 3.75 feet and a length of 3 feet, allowing it to be relatively easily transported on the back of an infantryman. Its overall weight is a manageable six pounds.


Picture of the AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Picture of the AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)


The Dragon Eye system is hand-launched, not requiring any complex undercarriage-with-runway arrangement or catapulting system. Forward momentum is enhanced by use of a bungee-style flexible cord which helps to add initial velocity. Once in the air and under its own power, the UAV utilizes a operator-programmed, waypoint-based navigation system through an integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS). The mission endurance window is approximately one hour. The UAV is tied to a Ground Control System (GCS) consisting of a heavy-duty laptop providing real-time color / high reolution InfraRed (IR) video imaging to the ground operator from the Dragon Eye unit. Transmission ranges (line-of-sight) reach out to 6 miles and the UAV holds an operational range out to 3 miles and a service ceiling up to 500 feet at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Recovery is simply by way of having the Dragon Eye unit land a relatively smooth surface - its frame is purposely designed to break apart and be put back together in short order. Should the unit suffer more catastrophic damage, its major components can easily by replaced from parts pulled from another Dragon Eye kit.

The Dragon Eye UAV continues to serve USMC units today (2015). Its transportability and ease-of-use with reliable function have made it an excellent addition to the Marine warfighter's growing high-tech arsenal. Additionally, its run-silent operation generally results in enemy forces unaware of its position overhead - a good alternative to the larger, higher-cost UAV systems currently available.






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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 50mph
Lo: 25mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (22mph).

    Graph average of 37.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1000
1000


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


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Origin: United States
Year: 2002
Type: Tactical Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): AeroVironment, Incorporated / Naval Research Laboratory / Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory - USA
Production: 1,000
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
United States
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AeroVironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
2.95 ft


Meters
0.9 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
3.61 ft


Meters
1.1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
7 lb


Kilograms
3 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
7 lb


Kilograms
3 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Single-use battery supplying power to 2 x Two-bladed electric motors.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
22 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
35 kph


Knots
19 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
3 mi


Kilometers
5 km


Nautical Miles
3 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
499 ft


Meters
152 m


Miles
0.09 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Payload consisting of cameras for general reconnaissance work: Dual forward-and-side-looking electro-optical camera, side-looking low light camera, and side-Looking IR camera.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• RQ-14 "Dragon Eye" - Base Series Designation