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Predator

The Predator B ER is an advanced derivative of the Predator B shown here (Photo: General A...

The Predator B (AKA the MQ-9 Reaper) is a pretty impressive bit of machinery. The unmanned military drone has an official range of 1,151 mi (1,852 km, 1,000 nautical miles), and a flight endurance when fully loaded of 14 hours, but for the US Air Force that isn't good enough. At this year’s Farnborough Airshow, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc, the builder of the Predator B, announced the second successful endurance flight of its Predator B Extended Range (ER) Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA), which flew from June 17 to June 18 as part of a program to improve the Predator’s endurance and capabilities.  Read More

A Sense and Avoid (SAA) system that allows UAVs to operate safely around other aircraft in...

Palmdale, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. (GA-ASI), the maker of the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) successfully completed the first of several flight tests of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, that allows a UAV to see and avoid other aircraft in flight.  Read More

The Block 1 Predator B (pictured) has received an upgrade with a successful first test fli...

Having racked up more than 420,000 flight hours, the venerable Block 1 Predator B (aka the MQ-9 Reaper) UAV that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has been producing since 2003 has received an upgrade. The revamped Predator B gets a bump in electrical power, more secure communications, auto land capabilities, streamlined payload integration capabilities and an increase in Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW) to handle heavier payloads or additional fuel.  Read More

The success of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles like the Predator means the US Air Force will, thi...

There was once a great Far Side cartoon that had ‘hopeful parents’ imagining a newspaper full of Help Wanted ads for skilled video game players. Well, it looks like Gary Larson might have been more prescient than he imagined. The US Air Force has just revealed that, this year, it will train more ‘pilots’ to remotely operate unmanned aircraft than pilots to fly fighters and bombers.  Read More

U.S. Air Force's first hunter-killer UAV named Reaper

September 14, 2006 The Air Force has announced "Reaper" has been chosen as the name for the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle, the Air Force's first hunter-killer UAV. Formerly known as the Predator B, the MQ-9 is still in final development but is larger and much more powerful than the MQ-1 Predator and is designed to go after time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, and should the Reaper ever be assigned your case, you are indeed very likely to become toast. Compared to the current MQ-1, which could carry two Hellfire missiles and is credited with at least one top 10 targets in Iraq, the Reaper is much more capable, and can carry 14 Hellfire II anti-armour missiles. The MQ-9 can also deploy precision guided weapons such as the GBU-12 and 500lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). Similarly, the Reaper can carry an internal sensor payload more than twice that of MQ-1, now has an operational ceiling of 50,000 ft and can cruise above clouds at 260 knots for 14 hours at a time. In announcing the new moniker, Gen. T. Michael Moseley stressed that the key advantage of the UAV is not keeping pilots out of harm's way, but the persistence UAVs can inherently provide.  Read More

Unmanned Aerial vehicles

May, 2004 It's 100 years since the Wright brothers became the first humans to achieve successful powered flight, but the trend at the beginning of the 21st century is to take humans back out of the cockpit, replacing pilots with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are equipped to perform almost any task.Used on a limited but increasing scale since the Vietnam War for aerial surveillance - 10 UAV systems were used in Iraq according to the US Defense Department - UAVs are now taking on a more active combat role as well as finding applications in the private sector.  Read More

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