HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

MQ-1B Predator

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and F-16 Fighting Falcon return from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission. Both aircraft provide intelligence, search and reconnaissance gathering features, as well as munitions capability to support ground troops and base defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Shannon Collins)

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and F-16 Fighting Falcon return from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission. Both aircraft provide intelligence, search and reconnaissance gathering features, as well as munitions capability to support ground troops and base defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Shannon Collins)

Avionics mechanics Jonathan Hagy and Russell Gordy work on an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle May 17 at Balad Air Base, Iraq.  The Predator provides armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition for Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Steffen)

The Predator provides armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition for Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Steffen)

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., May 11, for a training sortie over the Nevada desert.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., May 11, for a training sortie over the Nevada desert. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- An MQ-1 Predator armed with an AGM-114 Hellfire missile flies a training mission. The MQ-1's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets. (Courtesy photo)

An MQ-1 Predator armed with an AGM-114 Hellfire missile flies a training mission. The MQ-1's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets. (Courtesy photo)

The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. The fully operational system consists of four air vehicles (with sensors), a ground control station and a Predator primary satellite link communication suite. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. The fully operational system consists of four air vehicles (with sensors), a ground control station and a Predator primary satellite link communication suite. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Mission
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. Predators can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, route clearance, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-1's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.

Features
The Predator is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. A fully operational system consists of four sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft, ground control station, Predator Primary Satellite Link, and spare equipment, along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions.

The basic crew for the Predator is a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission, and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons as well as a mission coordinator, when required. The crew employs the aircraft from inside the ground control station via a line-of-sight data link or a satellite data link for beyond line-of-sight operations.

The Predator carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser designator and laser illuminator. The full-motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused. The aircraft can employ two laser-guided missiles, Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, that possess highly accurate, low-collateral damage, and anti-armor, anti-personnel engagement capabilities.

The remotely piloted aircraft system can be deployed for worldwide operations; likewise, the Predator can be disassembled and loaded into a container for travel. The ground control system and PPSL are transportable in a C-130 Hercules (or larger) transport aircraft. The Predator can operate on a 5,000 by 75-foot (1,524 meters by 23 meters) hard-surface runway with clear line-of-sight to the ground data terminal antenna. The antenna provides line-of-sight communications for takeoff and landing. The PPSL provides over-the-horizon communications for the aircraft and sensors.

The primary concept of operations, remote split operations, employs a launch-and-recovery ground control element for take-off and landing operations at the forward operating location, while the crew based in the continental United States executes command and control of the remainder of the mission via beyond-line-of-sight links. Remote split operations result in a smaller number of personnel deployed to a forward location, consolidate control of the different flights in one location, and as such, simplify command and control functions as well as the logistical supply challenges for the weapons system.

The aircraft has an ARC-210 radio, APX-100 IFF/SIF with Mode 4, and upgraded turbocharged engine. The latest upgrades, which enhance maintenance and performance, include notched tails, split engine cowlings, braided steel hoses, and improved engine blocks.

Background
The Predator system was designed in response to a Department of Defense requirement to provide to the warfighter persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information combined with a strike capability.

In April 1996, the secretary of defense selected the U.S. Air Force as the operating service for the RQ-1 Predator system. The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance aircraft. The "M" is the DOD designation for multi-role, and "Q" means remotely piloted aircraft system. The "1" refers to the aircraft being the first of the series of remotely piloted aircraft systems.

A change in designation from "RQ-1" to "MQ-1" occurred in 2002 with the addition of the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, enabling reaction against intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, close air support, and interdiction targets.

The Predator remotely piloted aircraft system continues to provide required armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to overseas contingency operations warfighters. During August 2011, the Predator surpassed one million hours of total development, test, training, and combat - a significant accomplishment for the U.S. Air Force.

General characteristics
Primary function: armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance, and target acquisition
Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Power plant: Rotax 914F four-cylinder engine
Thrust: 115 horsepower
Wingspan: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Length: 27 feet (8.22 meters)
Height: 7 feet (2.1 meters)
Weight: 1,130 pounds ( 512 kilograms) empty 
Maximum takeoff weight: 2,250 pounds (1,020 kilograms) 
Fuel capacity: 665 pounds (100 gallons)
Payload: 450 pounds (204 kilograms)
Speed: cruise speed around 84 mph (70 knots), up to 135 mph
Range: 770 miles (675 nautical miles)
Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
Armament: two laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles 
Crew (remote): two (pilot and sensor operator)
Unit cost: $20 million (includes four aircraft with sensors, ground control station and Predator Primary satellite link) (fiscal 2009 dollars) 
Initial operational capability: March 2005
Inventory: total force, 150

Current as of September 2015

Point of Contact
Air Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 115 Thompson St., Suite 210; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987; DSN 574-5007 or 757-764-5007; e-mail: accpa.operations@us.af.mil

Engage

Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #DYK the air terminal ops center (ATOC) at Nigerien Air Base 201 is responsible for air transportation ops including cargo…
Twitter
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have been working as quickly as possible to crack the… https://t.co/srH7dpHM8k
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official receive their #COVID19 vaccines. Prioritized @DeptofDefense personnel are highly… https://t.co/tAhlWH4BQP
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: The culture we need in our Air Force is one where we embrace diversity, value respect, and foster inclusion. Team Dov…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Talk about a year to be proud of! @HQ_AFMC #Bestof2020AF https://t.co/jyXWj9iWcY
Twitter
Combatting COVID one arm at a time. Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing received their first dose of the Moderna… https://t.co/tojuYTsqXn
Twitter
Training for the fight A 21st Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey takes off during a training mission at… https://t.co/b3hWLilMl8
Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: Our team is using the power of directed energy and the electromagnetic spectrum to give our warfighters the upper hand.…
Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: The @usairforce Golden Horde Vanguard program completed its first flight demonstration of collaborative weapons last mon…
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/vef2RqG6oy
Twitter
Developing civilian Airmen The Department of the Air Force is providing developmental education, academic programs… https://t.co/md3EPKRWvM
Twitter
RT @AirmanMagazine: It's time to vote for Airman Magazine’s 2020 photo of the year! This annual competition showcases the men and women of…
Twitter
Mentorship As part of service-wide focus on #mentorship, the @AETCommand Mentoring Council will virtually host a L… https://t.co/SPyI9QWbeN
Twitter
🚧 🚧 CAUTION: Falcons at work 🚧 🚧 F-16 Fighting Falcons based in the @CENTCOM area of operations conduct armed ae… https://t.co/bJO9eInx9u
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: #COVID19 vaccines continue to rollout & the logistics and immunizations teams at the 59th Medical Wing are ensuring the dis…
Twitter
Rolling out the #Vaccine in the phased plan per @DeptofDefense guidelines. https://t.co/NvPYGfourn
Twitter
It is tradition for senior leadership to present Airmen with a coin for exceptionally demonstrating the #AirForce c… https://t.co/qYrBJDfBuI
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/xmiFBLktWW
Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: @cubcrafters XCub aircraft made a stop in Dayton as it heads over to Maryland to help our 711 HPW test their LASH system…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,311,954
Follow Us