The General Atomics Predator Drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) typically operated by US Air Force AFSC 1U0X1, UAS – Unmanned Aerospace System Sensor Operators. Drones are equipped with the AN/AAS-52 Multi-spectral Targeting System, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions, camera (generally used by the pilot for flight control), a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night), and a variable aperture day-TV camera. The Predator Drone is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) that is employed primarily in a killer/scout role as an intelligence collection asset and secondarily against targets.
The aircraft can employ two laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which possess a highly accurate, low collateral damage, and anti-armor/anti-personnel engagement capability. The MQ-1B Predator handles reconnaissance while MQ-9 Reaper is used primarily “in a hunter/killer role,” and secondarily for intelligence. The drone endurance is more than 40 hours and the cruise speed is over 70kt. The air vehicle is equipped with UHF and VHF radio relay links, a C-band line-of-sight data link which has a range of 150nm and UHF and Ku-band satellite data links.
The targeting system is a primary threat. The MQ-1B carries the Multi-spectral Targeting System (MTS-A) which integrates an infrared sensor, a color/monochrome daylight TV camera, an image-intensified TV camera, a laser designator and a laser illuminator into a single package. The effective operational radius of the aircraft is about 459 miles.
UAV remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors, gamma ray sensors, biological sensors, and chemical sensors. A UAV’s electromagnetic sensors typically include visual spectrum, infrared, or near infrared cameras as well as radar systems. Click here to download the JFCOM UAS – A detailed explanation of drone operations, schematics, and capabilities that include;
- Full-color nose camera that the pilot uses primarily to navigate the craft
- Variable aperture camera (similar to a traditional TV camera)
- Variable aperture infrared camera for low-light and night viewing
- Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for seeing through low visibility