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  • RPA culture continues innovation

    The RQ-1 Predator, later designated as the MQ-1, was the right aircraft at the right time following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. While the nation was recovering from the largest attack in its history since the bombings of Pearl Harbor, members of the Pentagon prepared for a war they already knew would present new challenges the Defense Department had not faced before.
  • The evolution of the combat RPA

    In the 1980s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency added modern-day technology to the decades old idea of using remotely piloted aircraft for reconnaissance purposes. As a result the Air Force immediately purchased a long-endurance RPA called the GNAT 750, resulting in the creation, production and development of the RQ-1 Predator of the early 1990s. By 1996, operators were flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over the Balkans, providing an eye in the sky during a period of unrest.
  • From aerodromes to Reaper, RPAs push limits of technology

    The RPA actually got its start as early as 1896, when something called aerodromes at the time, were used to test the capabilities of new flying devices and to test if it was even possible for a heavier-than-air craft to achieve sustained flight. In May 1896, Dr. Samuel Langley proved that mechanical flight was possible with his Aerodrome No. 5. From that point on, the shape, design and technology structure of the unmanned aircraft evolved over the years, improving each time.
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