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MQ-1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


The MQ-1B Predator and the MQ-1C Gray Eagle are unmanned aerial vehicles used by the U.S. Air Force (MQ-1B) and the U.S. Army (MQ-1C). They are both air transportable by C-130 or bigger cargo aircraft. The Predator was the first UAV to fire offensive weapons against enemy combat forces, using Hellfire missiles against ground and air targets.

Contractor

Primary contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

A fully operational Predator system consists of the following

  • four sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft
  • ground control station
  • Predator Primary Satellite Link
  • spare equipment
  • operations and maintenance crews

Other missions and tasks

  • intelligence
  • surveillance
  • reconnaissance
  • close air support
  • combat search and rescue
  • precision strike
  • buddy-lase
  • convoy/raid overwatch
  • route clearance
  • target development
  • terminal air guidance

Crew

1 Pilot (Remote)
1 Sensor Operator (Remote)
1 Mission Coordinator (Optional)

MQ-1B Predator

The MQ-1B Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons, it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination and reconnaissance (SCAR) against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.
MQ-1B Predator Copyright © Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt, U.S. Air Force

Status

In active service

Capacity

204,12 kilograms of internal payload 450 pounds of internal payload
136,08 kilograms of external payload 300 pounds of external payload

Weapon systems

2 x Hardpoint (2 missiles in total)
» AGM-114 Hellfire

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 8.23 meters 27 feet
Wingspan: 16.76 meters 55 feet
Height: 2.1 meters 6.9 feet
Weight
Weight: ~513 kilograms 1 130 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: ~1 021 kilograms 2 250 pounds
Features
Power plant: one Rotax 914F four-cylinder engine
Performance: 115 horsepower
Fuel capacity: ~284 kilograms 625 pounds
Cruise speed: ~70 knots » ~123 kilometers per hour ~81 miles per hour
Maximum speed: 117 knots » ~217 kilometers per hour ~135 miles per hour
Ceiling: 7 620 meters 25 000 feet
Range: ~1 240 kilometers 770 miles
Endurance: 40 hours

MQ-1C Gray Eagle

The MQ-1C Grey Eagle is used by the U.S. Army. It has slightly longer wingspan and almost twice the payload capacity compared to the MQ-1B. The Grey Eagle provides an unmanned long-endurance and persistent ISR and tactical strike capability.
MQ-1C Gray Eagle Copyright © General Atomics

Status

In active service

Capacity

260,82 kilograms of internal payload 575 pounds of internal payload
226,8 kilograms of external payload 500 pounds of external payload

Weapon systems

4 x Hardpoint (4 missiles in total)
» AGM-114 Hellfire

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 8.53 meters 28 feet
Wingspan: 17.7 meters 56 feet
Height: 2.1 meters 6.9 feet
Weight
Maximum takeoff weight: ~1 633 kilograms 3 600 pounds
Features
Power plant: one Thielert 2.0L four cylinder heavy-fuel piston engine
Performance: 165 horsepower
Fuel capacity: ~272 kilograms 600 pounds
Cruise speed: ~70 knots » ~123 kilometers per hour ~81 miles per hour
Maximum speed: 135 knots » ~250 kilometers per hour ~155 miles per hour
Ceiling: ~8 839 meters 29 000 feet
Endurance: 30 hours