AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven

     Notes: The RQ-11 Ravenís career in the US military began in 1999, when the US Army bought four FQM-151 Pointer UAVs for modification to use as short-range UAVs for use in urban warfare scenarios.  The Pointer proved to be too large for use in the role envisioned (particularly itís ground control equipment), but the Pointer did prove promising enough that the US Army continued the project with AeroVironment.  AeroVironment not only developed a much smaller ground control station, but also made the UAV itself smaller, eventually becoming the Flashlight in 2001, and the Raven in 2002.  The full-production Block II version went into service in 2003. The first Ravens approved for LRIP and combat testing proved to be somewhat unreliable in launching and flight stability, so a Block II version was designed to fix the problems of the Block II version.  The Block II version is designated the RQ-11B, and also known as Raven B.

     The Raven comes in 3 small cases that fit into a standard MOLLE or large ALICE rucksack; the ground station has its own case.  The Ravenís standard payload consists of a nose or side-looking CCD TV camera capable of panning and zooming, a nose-mounted IR camera, and a side-looking IR camera.  Except for the CCD TV camera, the cameras do not have zoom capability, nor can any of them be locked onto a target, but the Raven is stable and quiet enough for discreet surveillance.  The cameras are designed more to ďtake a look over the hillĒ than for detailed target surveillance.  Other parts of the standard payload include a GPS receiver and the receiver/transmitter for signals from the ground operator, along with a small microprocessor; in addition, another 0.18 kilograms of equipment may be carried.  Any part of the standard payload can be removed and replaced with other sensors of devices as required.  The ground kit includes four extra batteries and a small charger for the batteries that can be plugged into a variety of vehicles and equipment (small folding solar panels are being considered for future deployment).  The Raven can operate for 90 minutes on a rechargeable; a single-use battery is also available that will give the Raven 110 minutes of flight time.

     The Raven can fly using pre-set GPS coordinates, a pre-set course programmed into it by the ground operator (which can be canceled in flight), or hand-flown by the ground operator using a setup similar to that of a video game.  The only launching equipment is a hand and arm Ė another soldier simply throws turns on the engine and throws it into the air like some model airplanes.  The Raven is entirely battery-powered, effective control range is 9.98 kilometers.  The length of the Raven is a mere 1.1 meters when assembled, with a wingspan of 1.3 meters.  Landing consists of simply allowing it to skid along the ground; the Raven is designed to simply fall apart at its assembly points to minimize or prevent damage during landing.  The Raven can be flown or programmed to fly back to the operator, or land at a pre-programmed point.  If a part of the airframe is damaged beyond the repair capabilities of the ground operator, the cases for the Raven include extra airframe components.

     The ground station is not only used to fly the Raven; it can automatically record the pictures and video captured by the cameras for over 24 hours of operation.  It includes a DVR that can operate without intervention of the ground operator, and has low-end video and photo editing software.  The pictures captured can also be transmitted to other Raven ground stations or to other units if a radio connection is available.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The Raven is not available in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$27,908

Battery

0.18 kg

1.91 kg

1-2

 

Image Intensification, Passive IR

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

81

162

NA  64  2/1  20/10

N/A

Rechargeable: 90 min; Non-Rechargeable: 110 min

4267

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

Ground Control (Range Ė 9.98km) or Autonomous Guidance

CCD TV Camera, 2xPassive IR Cameras, GPS

None

None

 

BQM-145A MRUAV (Medium-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

     Notes: This is an advanced, high-speed reconnaissance drone used when high performance and quick penetration are needed. The UAV includes 2 hardpoints that may be fitted with extra equipment, droppable sensors, or weapons. It can use a terrain-matching radar system similar to cruise missiles for guidance, or one of several other techniques.  Payloads are multipurpose, with several missions often being performed during the same trip.  An interesting payload sometimes carried by this vehicle is an EMP generator; this device has a range of 2 km and works in a 30-degree cone in front of the vehicle.  On a roll of 8 on 1D20, any unshielded electronics in the cone are disabled immediately, and remain disabled until a repair using 1D6+2 parts has been performed.  In addition to ground and ship-launchings, this UAV can be air launched from most aircraft that can carry the weight.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This vehicle was new in production at the start of the Twilight War, and is rather rare. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$78,000

AvG

207 kg

980 kg

4

7

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

1050

1770 (200)

NA  830  6/4  60/40

205

46

12200

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

TERCOM, GPS, Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 2400 km)

3xVideo Camera, 2xStill Camera, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Digital Video Recorder, ECM, Radar Jammer, Radio Jammer, 6xChaff Bundles, 6xIR Flares, Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, SIGINT gear, Secure Radio, Satcom Radio

2 Hardpoints

Takeoff: Rail w/RATO Booster; Landing: Parachute, Parafoil

 

Condor

     Notes: Condor is a HALE (High-Altitude, Long-Endurance) UAV built by Boeing in consultation with Dick Rutan, builder of many long-endurance aircraft, including the Voyager, the first aircraft to circle the earth nonstop on one tank of fuel.   It is basically a powered sailplane, with a wingspan of over 60 meters, used for long-range surveillance and strategic reconnaissance.  Built largely out of honeycomb ceramics and composites, it is very light for its size.  The sensor suite is comprehensive, modified from satellite gear, and has a 0.2 meter resolution even from maximum altitude.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Only 5 Condors were built, and at least three were known to have been lost in the Twilight War, with one being shot down by a missile, one being brought down by a MiG-31, and one that crashed for unknown reasons.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$649,000

AvG

815 kg

9.07 tons

5

7

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

345

450 (90)

NA  220  3/2  30/20

7075

118

20000

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Autopilot, Autonomic Function, Manual Control (Radio Link, 3000 km)

3xVideo Cameras, 3xStill Cameras, Mapping Gear, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Real-Time Sensor Link, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, AWACS/JSTARS Interface, Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, ECM, 8xChaff Bundles, 8xIR Flares

2275m/1700m Hardened Runway

 

Darkstar

     Notes: This was the result of a joint US Air Force/Navy "black" project, little known to the public until recently.  It is a stealth UAV used for strategic reconnaissance and special operations preparatory work against highly defended sites.  It is small and stealthy, and any attempt to locate is on radar or use radar-guided weapons against are three levels more difficult than normal.  Attempts to locate with infrared methods, including active and passive IR, thermal imaging, or FLIR are likewise three levels more difficult than normal, as is attempting to use an IR-guided weapon against it.  It is a fast, high-flying, difficult to detect vehicle that has the potential to yield a great deal of intelligence data for US forces.  Experiments with this UAV are still ongoing.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The existence of this UAV was not known to the public until the Twilight War.  It gathered a staggering amount of information on the enemy on the early phases of the war.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$280,000

AvG

450 kg

3.9 tons

5

7

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

520

930 (245)

NA  440  5/3  50/30

2015

168

15200

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Autopilot, Autonomous Function, Manual Control (Radio Link, 3000 km)

3xVideo Camera, 3xStill Camera, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Laser Rangefinder/Designator, Secure Radio, Satcom Radio, JSTARS/AWACS Interface, ECM, IRCM, 6xChaff Bundles, 6xIR Flares

1295m/970m Hardened Runway

 

DP-4

     Notes: This is a "VTOL UAV," a UAV that is essentially a miniature helicopter.  It was originally designed for use in aerial cinematography, to take motion pictures under difficult conditions and to supplement pictures shot from manned aircraft and from cranes.  It was quickly adapted to military use, with its ability to take stable video and feed it to ground stations very useful to battlefield commanders and intelligence personnel.  In addition to the usual cameras, the DP-4 has a useful payload that can be used to carry other sensors and devices (a common such payload is a laser designator).

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$4,600

G, AvG

13.4 kg

63.5 kg

2

3

None

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

160

215

10/100

19.84

2.92

1220

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Manual Control (Radio Link, 2 km)

Video Camera, Still Camera (others may be fitted)

6.5m Primitive Runway

 

Dragon Drone

     Notes: This is a somewhat larger and more capable version of the Exdrone, fielded by the US Marines and Coast Guard in the early 1990s.  It is of similar, but stronger construction, with a better sensor suite, including a color day camera instead of the black and white one on the Exdrone.  It can carry out similar missions to the Exdrone, including stripping out the sensors and delivering packages to downed aircrews, though this was rarely done since the Dragon Drone is more expensive than the Exdrone.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$3,400

AvG

12.1 kg

43 kg

3

3

Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

150

200 (80)

NA  95  5/3  50/30

13.4

4.5

3000

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeof/Landing

GPS, Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 90 km)

Video Camera, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, Laser Rangefinder, Secure Radio

Takeoff: Catapult; Landing: Net, Runway (60m); Primitive Runway

 

Exdrone

     Notes: This is a smaller UAV designed to provide capabilities similar to larger, costlier drones in a cheaper package.  It is one of the most produced UAVs ever built, with nearly 1000 built by the turn of the century.  It was used by the US Marines as early as the 1991 Gulf War, and it's low cost (Exdrone is short for Expendable DRONE), made it popular with many intelligence efforts.  It can also be used to drop small sensors and other packages, such as trail bugs, expendable jammers, etc.  Interesting alternate uses for Exdrones was to strip out all sensors and pack the open bays with survival equipment for downed pilots.  The vehicle can be destroyed in flight to avoid capture.  The Exdrone is of simple construction, built mostly of Styrofoam and balsa wood inside a thin plastic shell.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$2,900

G, AvG

11.34 kg

40.37 kg

3

4

Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

150

200 (80)

NA  95  5/2  50/20

12.6

2

3050

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Manual Control (Radio Link, 70 km), Autopilot

Video Camera, Laser Rangefinder, Secure Radios

Takeoff: Catapult; Landing: Skids, 60m Primitive Runway, or Parachute

 

Firebee

     Notes: This UAV was developed by the UASF and CIA in the mid-1960s.  It has long been out of service with the US and its allies, but is still in common use, with upgrades, by China (copied from captured models), Pakistan, and some other Chinese trading partners.  It is a very large UAV powered by a jet engine, ands launched from under the wing of a large flying aircraft (the US used a variant of the C-130 Hercules transport called the DC-130).  It is also controlled by crewmen of that aircraft.  It is a ďsemi-stealthĒ aircraft, not being designed for stealth, but achieving it as a byproduct of its design, construction materials, and small size.  Aircraft attempting to use radar or radar-guided weapons against the Firebee suffer a one level penalty. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$100,000

AvG

244 kg

1.74 tons

4

5

Radar, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

540

925 (175)

NA  445  4/2  40/20

295

207

21335

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Manual Control (Radio Link, 1950 km), Autonomous Function, Autopilot

2xStill Cameras, Video Camera, IR Camera, Radio Direction Finder, SIGINT Gear, Radar Homer

Takeoff: Air drop

Landing: Aerial helicopter snatch from parachute

 

Firescout

     Notes: This vehicle is unusual in that it is an unmanned adaptation of a manned design, the Schweizer 330 light utility helicopter. Its large size as well as improvement of components over the years allows it to carry a sophisticated autonomous control system, with enough artificial intelligence to allow it to assign priority to targets and track or target certain ones based on threat level.  The optics can identify a tank-sized target from 6.4 kilometers, and smaller or larger objects from proportionally closer or further distances.  First deployment for the system was from US Navy Aegis cruisers in early 1997, followed by US Marine amphibious assault vessels.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$83,000

AvG

240 kg

1.16 tons

3

6

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

200

380

20/125

155

25.8

6095

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 172 km)

3xVideo Cameras, 2xStill Cameras, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Laser Designator/Rangefinder, Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Real-Time Sensor Link, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio

1 Hardpoint

16m Primitive Runway

 

Global Hawk

     Notes: This is currently the pinnacle of HALE UAV development.  It is a long-range, long-endurance, high-speed stealth platform, used for strategic intelligence deep inside an enemy's borders. The sensor suite is comprehensive, and includes a long-range radio and data link that can interface directly with a variety of intelligence computer networks with an encrypted wireless connection at a data rate of over 50 Mbps.  If a satellite is available, transmission range is potentially infinite.  The synthetic aperture radar on the Global Hawk is so sensitive that it can detect moving targets at least the size of a main battle tank within a radius of 200 km, and is able to provide 6 meter resolution in an area of 37x110 km, 1.8-meter resolution in an area of 10 square kilometers, of zoom in to 0.2 meter resolution from maximum altitude.  It is not a full stealth design, but radar detection and missile-guidance attempts against it are one level harder than normal, and IR detection and guidance attempts are two levels harder than normal. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: It was Global Hawk aircraft that first detected the preparations of Russian for strategic nuclear strikes on the US and Europe; unfortunately, though some evacuations were made, not enough could be done to save most of the population hit, and panic and the resulting jam-ups took care of the rest. Throughout the Twilight War, the 20 Global Hawk UAVs gained valuable intelligence, particularly after the downing of much of NATO's satellite network. Two Global Hawks were also deployed by NATO (one by the British, and one by the Germans, dubbed "EuroHawks"), and one each was used by Israel and Saudi Arabia (called the "GulfHawk").

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$750,000

AvG

900 kg

10.4 tons

5

8

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

610

1080 (250)

NA  515  6/4  60/40

7400

215

20000

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Inertial Guidance, TERCOM, Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 3500 km)

3xVideo Cameras, 4xStill Cameras, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Real-Time Sensor Link, Motion Detector, ECM, IRCM, 10xChaff Bundles, 10xIR Flares, ALE-50 Decoy Drone, Laser Rangefinder/Designator, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, JSTARS/AWACS Interface, Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, SIGINT Gear

2 Hardpoints

1615m/1215m Hardened Runway

 

Gnat-750

    Notes: This drone was part of the first generation of "Endurance UAVs," drones with a very long flight time.  Three versions of the Gnat are available, the basic Gnat-750, the Gnat-750XP, and the I-Gnat; in addition, the Predator (q.v.) is an advanced version of the Gnat-750.  The Gnat-750 has been in use by the US since 1989, and later by Turkey, and was used extensively in the 1991 Gulf War.  They were normally used to monitor troop movements and rear areas, since they are quiet and have a low radar and IR cross-section.  An extensive user of this vehicle was the US Central Intelligence Agency.  With a different electronics package, they can be used as a relay platform for radio and video signals, making it possible for personnel deep behind enemy lines to communicate with higher echelons.  Gnat-750XP and I-Gnat actually have 2 hardpoints under each wing and can mount and use weapons, but these hardpoints are more commonly used for fuel tanks or extra sensors or laser designator pods.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Gnat-750

$36,850

AvG

64.86 kg

513 kg

3

5

Radar, FLIR, Image Intensification

Gnat-750XP

$54,000

AvG

231 kg

748 kg

3

5

Radar, FLIR, Image Intensification

I-Gnat

$59,000

AvG

295 kg

748 kg

3

5

Radar, FLIR, Image Intensification

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

Gnat-750

205

270 (145)

NA  130  6/2  60/20

256

8.53

4875

Gnat-750XP

250

335 (125)

NA  160  6/2  60/20

300

7.5

6095

I-Gnat

275

365 (135)

NA  175  6/2  60/20

300

7.5

9295

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autopilot, Inertial Navigation, Manual Control (Radio Link, 465 km); (I-Gnat) add GPS

Video Camera, Still Camera, Laser Rangefinder, Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging; (I-Gnat Only) 3xVideo/Still Cameras, Laser Rangefinder, Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging, Real-Time Video Relay, Satcom Unit, Secure Radios

Hardened Runway; (Gnat-750) 745/560m, (Gnat-750XP, I-Gnat) 670/500m

 

Javelin

     Notes: This tiny US UAV is intended to be used at the platoon or higher level by forward combat elements, including LRSU units and special operations forces.  Instead of a normal takeoff, the drone's engine is started, and the vehicle hand-thrown into the air. The Javelin was also bought by several US television stations to get pictures from crowded airspace above disaster locations and areas where there are hazardous conditions.  Some coastal US TV stations also used them to report on beach conditions and surf size.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$400

G, AvG, Battery

1.45 kg

6.8 kg

2

2

None

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

105

185 (55)

NA  90  6/4  60/40

1.93 or 4 batteries

1.93 or 1 hour

305

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Manual Control (Radio Link, 2 km)

Video Camera

Takeoff: Hand Thrown; Landing: Belly (60m); Primitive Runway (Hardened Runway Not Recommended)

 

Pioneer

     Notes: This US reconnaissance and artillery spotting drone was one of the first of the modern generation of drones used by the US, being deployed by the US Navy for naval artillery spotting from battleships such as the USS Iowa in late 1985, and having been steadily upgraded and used since then.  It was developed from the Israeli Scout RPV (q.v.).  Its two primary missions are artillery support and bomb damage assessment, though it is also used for general reconnaissance and tracking specific targets, due to its fine-resolution cameras, able to accurately photograph and track targets less than 200mm across from an altitude of over 4500 meters.  Pictures from a Pioneer's video camera are featured in a very famous incident in the 1991 Gulf War, where an Iraqi squad tried to surrender to the drone.  The primary users of the Pioneer are the US Navy and Marines (who use them for battlefield intelligence). The Pioneer is equipped with an arrestor hook and may be launched from standard carrier catapults.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The US Army operated 8 of them in the Twilight War and the 1991 Gulf War before that. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$13,700

G, AvG

45 kg

190 kg

3

3

FLIR, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

150

250 (95)

NA  120  7/4  70/40

45.65

7.6

4575

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 185 km)

Video Camera, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, Secure Radio, Laser Designator

Takeoff: Rail w/RATO booster, Catapult, Runway (455m); Landing Net, Runway (335m); Hardened Runway

 

Pointer

     Notes: This is a mini-RPV used by the US Marines, US Army, Oregon Army National Guard, and US Special Operations Command. It is a basic camera-carrying drone, so light that no special launching gear is used; the drone is simply thrown into the air by hand with the engine running. It is a tough little bird, made largely of Kevlar.  No fuel is used, rechargeable NiCad batteries being used to power the UAV.  It may carry only small loads, but is useful for basic immediate reconnaissance.  The camera is in a fixed installation in its nose, and has a narrow range of vision; the vehicle must be pointed directly at the target to photograph it, and that is where the Pointer got its name.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$300

Batteries

0.27 kg

4.13 kg

2

1

None

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

65

110 (40)

NA  55  4/3  40/30

1 NiCad Battery

1 hour

915

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Manual Control (Radio Link, 4 km)

Color Video Camera or Black and White Low-Light Video Camera, Real-Time Video Link, Secure Radio, Armored Body and Wings

Takeoff: Hand-Thrown; Landing: Belly (55m): Primitive Runway

 

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

     Notes: The Predator was originally designated the RQ-1 in 1994, reflecting its original mission as a tactical reconnaissance platform and forward observation USA.  The Predator is controlled by a ground station; on long missions Predator Operators may actually change out four or five times.  The Predator uses three operators, one to fly the Predator, one to operate itís sensors and weapons, and one gunner/payload specialist. The Predator is known for itís ďStealthĒ Ė it usually cannot be seen or heard from the ground when at its normal cruising or fighting altitudes, and itís small size and to some extent, its design, give it a measure of stealth capability. Though so far only the US Air Force (and some foreign air forces) employ the Predator, the US Army has recently taken delivery of some Predators, and it is an open secret that the CIA, DIA, and Homeland Security use Predators.  The US Border Patrol has been using them for years to monitor the border for refugees, Coyote-led groups, and drug mules. The US Forestry Service is known to have at least four Predators on itís rolls for fire reconnaissance, with an additional FLIR scope.

     All Predators have a number of common features.  They are equipped with inertial navigation and GPS for navigation, and sends itís location to itís operators several times per second. It can interface directly with JSTARS, AWACS-type aircraft, other battle direction aircraft (like some variants of the Black Hawk), special operations aircraft, and Blue Force Tracker or its equivalent in other countriesí armed forces.  They communicate via satellites with their operations base. In 2001, the Air Force began to weaponize their Predators, and theyíve struck targets from Afghanistan and Iraq to Syria. (It should be noted, however, that the Air Force did not admit publicly to their Predators being weaponized until 2002.)  The MQ-1B is now used by Italy. Turkey, UAE, and Morocco.  The MQ-1B in US Air Force service was retired in 2018, in favor of the MQ-9 Reaper.

     The Predator was developed from the General Atomics Gnat UAV.

 

MQ-1

     The original RQ-1A did not have hardpoints for weapons at first (when they did get hardpoints fitted, the designation was changed to RQ-1B, then later MQ-1B in 2002) The front of the nose has a rotating ball which is used to steer and bring into action its optical and reconnaissance equipment.  Further back along the fuselage is a blister containing the aiming equipment and laser designator.  Originally, Predators were equipped with SAR, but the lack of its use during most flights led to itís removal.  The aiming is done by an AN/AAS-52 Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has itís own focusing module and can also use the Predatorís other sensors, such as the thermographic camera (essentially equivalent to a 2nd Gen FLIR), the day camera, and a color camera; each have a range of 9 kilometers.  On the RQ-1A, this basically makes for a lighter aircraft, but in the RQ/MQ-1B, it allows heavier weapons carriage.  The Predatorís laser designator can also spot for other aircraft using LG weapons.

 

ALTUS

     The ALTUS is essentially a Predator that has been modified for civilian agency use. The ALTUS I was a test vehicle, designed to see if the Predator could be used for civilian research purposes; this was successful, and led to the production ALTUS II.  The ALTUS II is designed for medium as well as high-altitude flight, and has longer wings than the Predators and variants.  The ALTUSís sensor compartment is modular, and can carry up to 150 kilograms of scientific gear in addition to itís basic sensor load.  It has the hardpoints of the MQ-1B, used to carry additional sensors and scientific experiments.  Unlike the other Predators, the ALTUS is powered by a turbocharged Rotax 912 fuel-injected gasoline engine developing 100 horsepower, it is not built for speed, but for high-altitude flight.  The primary users of the ALTUS II are the Navy Postgraduate School and NASA, both of whom use it for from wind measurements to cosmic ray measurements.  All instruments and optical gear listed below may be changed out for any other scientific instruments.

 

MQ-1B

     The MQ-1B differs primarily from the RQ-1 in that it can carry weapons or other payloads on its hardpoints.  The MQ-1B has two hardpoints, which are almost always taken up with a pair of laser-guided Hellfire missiles.  The MQ-1B can also drop a pair of battlefield sensors from a pod under each wing, and can carry ECM or IRCM pods.  It is normally armed with twin Hellfire missiles, though it can also carry four Stingers or six AGM-176 Griffin ASM.  Though it has not been done operationally, the Predator is capable of mounting one or a pair of small UAVs which are no more than 45 kilograms together, or 50-liter fuel tanks under one or both wings.

 

MQ-1C Gray Eagle

     The Gray Eagle, at first called the Warrior and then Sky Warrior, and also ERMP (Extended Range Multi-Purpose).  The US Army wanted it to be designated the MQ-12 (it entered official service in 2012). It is essentially a modified MQ-1B, modified for its mission as an US Army aircraft. As with the MQ-1B, it has two hardpoints normally carrying Hellfire missiles, though it is also common for them to carry extra fuel tanks or sensors.

     The Gray Eagle initially suffered from poor electronic chips in its navigation systems. Once discovered, the Gray Eagles were repaired and entered full service. Later, software received upgrades and the continued poor performance was corrected.  This problem was followed by a fuel flow problem which would unexpectedly drop its range. The Gray Eagleís Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) dropped to only 25 hours, at a time when 100 hours was considered the minimum requirement for Predators and their variants. Defective or buggy software was finally determined to be the cause of these failures, and the entire OS was removed and replaced.

     This led to the Improved Gray Eagle (or Gray Eagle IGE), which also had a number of improvements other than the software.  A centerline hardpoint was added, with 227 kilograms capacity, which allows the Gray Eagle to carry a fuel tank, a 500-pound JDAM, or other heavy items or weapons.  The wing hardpoints can carry MERís allowing them to carry up to four Helfires, eight Stingers, or four GBU-44/B Viper Strike bombs; alternately, a hardpoint can carry heavier or larger items such as SIGINT pods. ECM or IRCM pods, Flare/Chaff pods, and more.  Experiments have been carried out with dual Javelins on a hardpoint.  The Gray Eagle IGE also has a fuselage which is slightly larger, allowing larger internal fuel tanks. The Gray Eagle is also characterized by its longer wings, winglets on the ends of the wings, and more powerful 190 horsepower high-torque turbocharged engine.

     The Gray Eagle MUM-T is the newest version of the Gray Eagle.  Itís primary modification it internal; it can be controlled from the new AH-64E Apache Guardian, the upcoming M1A3 Abrams, or even ground troops that have the appropriate hardware. This system also allows the accessing vehicles to see through the Gray Eagleís sensors, and fire the Gray Eagleís weapons, to the point of actuating laser rangefinders and designators on the Gray Eagle.  The range of this control is 110 kilometers.  Other modifications include an onboard SIGINT suite with a 360-degree field of view that allows the Gray Eagle to detect, identify, and geolocate electronic emitters, including radios from walkie-talkies to SATCOM stations and radar installations. 

     The Gray Eagle has conducted successful tests, including combat tests, where they fly to a primitive FARP, refuel and rearm, possibly have payloads switched out, and resume the mission.  The soldiers in the ground crew start by rouging out a primitive runway, and large tents are used (after removing the wings) to provide a sort of ďhangarĒ for the Gray Eagle.

 

MQ-9 Reaper

     The Reaper is a development of the Predator, most known for itís increased cargo/weapons load, more powerful engine, and itís controversial ability to operate autonomously.  (There are still ground controllers watching it, and able to take over operations when the reaper is in autonomous mode). The reaper is also known for itís tailplanes, which angle upwards instead of downwards. The Reaper is able to operate in true hunter-killer mode, being able to identify targets from high altitude, then drop down to attack them.  The MQ-9 is considered a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) rather than a UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle). The US Air Force retired its MQ-1Bs in favor of Reapers in 2018; the remaining MQ-1Bs have been sold to other countries or converted into other types of Predators.  The USAF plans to keep the Reaper in service into the 2030s. The Reaper is also used by the Navy, CIA, Border Police, NASA, and several other countries.  Air Force, Navy, and Border Patrol Reapers have also been used to monitor wildland fires, and NASA is testing one that is strong enough to fly into hurricanes.

     The MQ-9A Reaper is powered by a 900-horsepower supercharged turboprop engine, significantly more powerful than the Predators.  It can carry a much greater payload then the Predator, and cruise at a much higher speed.  Sensors are improved; one claim (so far unsubstantiated) is that the onboard day/night CCD camera is able to read a license plate from 3.2 kilometers.  The Reaper has six hardpoints; the inner hardpoints may carry 680 kilograms each, while the mid-wing hardpoints may carry 270 kilograms each, and the outer hardpoints 91 kg each.  Weapons cleared for use with the Reaper include the Hellfire, AIM-9 Sidewinder, 500-pound JDAM, and AIM-92 Stinger.  The hardpoints may also carry extra fuel tanks. They are currently being tested with ADM-160 MALD and MALD-J antiradar weapons, and a sort of Wild Weasel Reaper, using the Northrop Grumman Pandora EW suite, and being tested with the HARM ARM.  The British are currently using theirs to test whether the Reapers can fire Brimstone missiles.

     The Reaper has a full interface with air, naval, and ground units, similar to an enhanced Blue Force Tracker system, as well as the systems needed for autonomous and semi-autonomous (the normal flight mode) operations.  The Navy also uses the Reaper for long-range surveillance, with its hardpoints partially or completely taken up with sensors. One system, used only by the Reaper so far, is the Gorgon Stare system, which provides day/night video, FLIR and Image Intensifier integration, SIGINT integration, and RDF and radar detection, in a 100 square-kilometer area on the ground.

     The MQ-9B Reaper is updated with a 950-horsepower turboprop, and therefore is not only more powerful, but able to carry heavier loads.  Also known as the Reaper ER (Extended Range), the MQ-9B can carry a single 380-liter fuel tanks on the centerline and two more on wet wing hardpoints.  The wingspan is also increased to 24.4 meters, allowing even more increased range, and even short bursts of operation with the engine off, as well as improved takeoff and landing characteristics. The propeller is also four-bladed instead of only two-bladed. The MQ-9B can be positioned on the end of the runway and then can take off autonomously, and at missionís end, land autonomously.  Sensors are in general upgraded to higher-tech variants. The MQ-9B has spoilers on the wings that dramatically decrease landing run.  The wings have de-icers and also incorporate integrated low and high-band RF antennas.  Finally, if the MQ-9B is carrying several missiles or rocket pods, the MQ-9B can ripple fire them, with as little as one every 0.32 seconds for ripple missile fire.

 

RQ-9B Altair

     Though NASA wanted to wait until the turbofan-powered version of the Predator was available, this version is well over budget and behind schedule.  NASA therefore decided to go with a highly-modified MQ-9B for its ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) test and research aircraft.  This version of the Reaper is much heavier than the standard MQ-1B, carrying a staggering array of observation and scientific instruments. The wings are an astounding 26-meters, increasing its landing and takeoff characteristics and, most importantly, able to reach higher altitudes and stay up there.  Sensors are very similar to the ALTUS II, though more updated, and new ones have been added.  The Altair has been used for anything to general aerial research to studying the fires in the Western US to helping to recover the Orion Flight Test capsule.

     The requirements for the Altair included a mission endurance of 24-48 hours at 12200 to 18300 meters altitude with a payload of at least 300 kilograms.  The lifting capability of the airframe was no problem, but the endurance requirement led to the Altair almost always being festooned with at least two extra fuel tanks, as well as an increase in wingspan to 26.82 meters.  The Altairís centerline hardpoint is permanently occupied with a sensor pod, which carried outsized payloads. In addition, the Altair retains the satellite radio/control link of other Reapers, and in addition automatically maneuvers to avoid other aircraft in the flight path of the Altair. The Altair may be programmed to autonomously take off and climb to cruising altitude, then send a signal that it is ready to begin operations, and after the mission, autonomously return to base.

     A later version of the Altair, the Ikhana, has triple-redundant sensors, computers, and flight systems, and carries 33% more fuel internally. It is also able to interface with a greater amount of radio systems, radars, and satellites, as well as scientific sensors. The original Altair uses a 700-horsepower turboprop, while the Ikhana has the same engine as the MQ-9B Reaper.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The Italian counterpart to the CIA acquired 6 MQ-1B Predators before hostilities started. 

Aircraft

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

RQ-1

$1,019,585

JP8

173 kg

2.25 tons

3

45

FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (20 km), SAR (3km)

ALTUS II

$572,725

G

150 kg

2.25 tons

3

40

FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (20 km), LIDAR (30 km), SAR (20 km)

MQ-1B

$1,527,705

JP8

184 kg

2.25 tons

3

45

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (20 km), LIDAR (20 km)

MQ-1C Block I

$1,477,496

JP8

365 kg

2.9 tons

2

50

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), SAR (20km)

MQ-1C IGE

$1,653,913

JP8

385 kg

3 tons

2

50

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), SAR (20km)

MQ-1C MUM-T

$1,757,557

JP8

385 kg

3 tons

2

50

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), SAR (20km)

MQ-9A

$7,555,653

JP8

1.7 tons

4.76 tons

2

45

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), LIDAR (20 km), SAR (20km)

MQ-9B

$9,576,154

JP8

1.84 tons

5.3 tons

2

45

2nd Gen FLIR, 3rd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), LIDAR (20 km), SAR (20km)

RQ-9B Altair

$8,204,680

JP8

1.39 tons

4.45 tons

2

55

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), LIDAR (30 km), SAR (30km)

RQ-9B Ikhana

$8,538,742

JP8

1.84 tons

5.09 tons

2

55

2nd Gen FLIR, 2nd Gen Image Intensification, Radar (30 km), LIDAR (30 km), SAR (30km)

 

Aircraft

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

RQ-1

257

83 (6)

NA  41  3/2 30/20

341

24

7600

ALTUS II

210

58 (4)

NA  29  3/2  30/20

341

62

20000

MQ-1B

257

83 (6)

NA  41  3/2 30/20

341

24

7600

MQ-1C Block I

334

94 (4)

NA  46  3/2  30/20

360

67

8839

MQ-1C IGE/MUM-T

324

90 (4)

NA  44  3/2  30/20

473

68

8839

MQ-9A

543

151 (3)

NA  69  3/2  30/20

1800

200

15000

MQ-9B

773

286 (3)

NA  98  3/2  30/20

1800

211

17000

RQ-9B Altair

480

133 (3)

NA  61  4/3  40/30

1472

176

15849

RQ-9B Ikhana

789

292 (3)

NA  100  4/3  40/30

1958

211

16000

 

Aircraft

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

RQ-1

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Stealth 2

IFF, Day/Night Still Camera, Day/Night CCD, Day CCD, Day Color CCD, Laser Designator, ECM 1 (30 km), SIGINT Gear, RDF, Radar Detector, IFF, Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Aircraft Interface

Nil

1500m/865m Hardened Runway

ALTUS II

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Stealth 2

Day/Night Still Camera, Day/Night CCD, Day CCD, Day Color CCD, Geiger Counter, Satcom Radio, Aircraft Interface, Cosmic Ray Sensor, Wind Speed/Direction Sensor, Gamma Ray Sensor, Gas Composition Sensor

2 Hardpoints

1500m/865m Hardened Runway

MQ-1B

GPS, Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control (Radio Link, 3500 km), Stealth 2

IFF, 3xVideo Cameras, 3xStill Cameras, Laser Rangefinder, Laser Designator, ECM 1 (30 km), SIGINT Gear (30 km), Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, JSTARS/AWACS Interface

2 Hardpoints

1500m/865m Hardened Runway

MQ-1C Block I

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Remote Control, Stealth 2

IFF, RWR, 3x Day/Night Video Cameras, 3x Day/Night Still Cameras, Laser Rangefinder, Laser Designator, ECM 1 (30 km), Radio Jammer (30 km), Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Remote Interface

4 Hardpoints

1200m/665m Primitive Runway

MQ-1C IGE

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Stealth 2

IFF, RWR, 3x Day/Night Video Cameras, 3x Day/Night Still Cameras, Laser Rangefinder, Laser Designator, ECM 2 (30 km), ECCM (+1/30km) SIGINT Gear, Radio Jammer (45 km), Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Remote Interface

4 Hardpoints

1200m/665m Primitive Runway

MQ-1C MUM-T

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Remote Control, Stealth 2

IFF, RWR, Day/Night Video Camera, Wide-Area Day/Night Video Camera, Day/Night Still Camera, Laser Rangefinder, Laser Designator, ECM 2 (30 km), ECCM 2 (30km) SIGINT Gear, Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Radio Jammer (45 km), Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Remote Interface

4 Hardpoints

1200m/665m Primitive Runway

MQ-9A

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Remote Control, Stealth 2

IFF, RWR, 2x Day/Night Video Cameras, Day/Night Still Camera, Laser Rangefinder, Laser Designator, Gorgon Stare System, ECM 2 (30 km), ECCM 2 (30km), Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Radio Jammer (45 km), Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Remote Interface, JSTARS/AWACS Interface

6 Hardpoints

1000m/555m Primitive Runway

MQ-9B

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Remote Control, Stealth 2

IFF, RWR, 2x Day/Night Video Cameras, Day/Night Still Camera, 2nd Gen Laser Rangefinder, 2nd Gen Laser Designator, Gorgon Stare System, ECM 2( 30 km), ECCM 2 (30km), Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Radio Jammer (45 km), Optical Chemical Sniffer, Geiger Counter, Secure Radios, Satcom Radio, Remote Interface, JSTARS/AWACS Interface

7 Hardpoints

950m/528m Primitive Runway

RQ-9B Altair/Ikhana

GPS, Inertial Navigation, Satellite Link, Autopilot, Computer Link, Manual Control, Remote Control, Stealth 2

2xDay/Night Still Camera, 2xDay/Night CCD, Day CCD, Day Color CCD, Geiger Counter, Satcom Radio, Aircraft Interface, Cosmic Ray Sensor, Wind Speed/Direction Sensor, Gamma Ray Sensor, Gas Composition Sensor, Magnetometer, Gravity Sensor, Laser Rangefinder

6 Hardpoints

940m/522m Hardened Runway

 

Raytheon ADM-160B MALD

     Notes: The MALD (Miniature Air-Launched Decoy) is a small UAV meant, like the old Quail UAV that B-52s used in Vietnam, to look on radar and IR like a full-sized aircraft.  To SEAD detection devices, the MALD can look like anything from a cruise-missile-sized UAV to an aircraft as large as a B-52, depending upon configuration.  The MALD does by a combination of a deliberately ďdirtyĒ configuration and electronic and IR emitters.  The purpose is, of course, to make the opposing forces waste their timer and money (in the currency of radar energy, missiles, and aircraft to track down the decoy, only to find it is a disappointmentÖ).  In addition, when the MALD is detected, enemy detection radars, fire detection radars, radio emissions (while the enemy is babbling to one another), making them loud targets for friendly Wild Weasels and other SEAD-equipped aircraft.  This decoying of air defenses falls under the general name SAS (Signature Augmentation Subsystem).  When launched, the MALDís wings and tail unfold as well as various other projections such as antennas, blisters, and fairings are exposed, and the MALD begins to transmit false search and fire control radars, as well as ECM, ECCM, IRCM, and an engine which deliberately runs hotter than its size would normally emit. The MALD also flies a preprogrammed course until enemy radar or ISRT emissions are detected, at which point the MALD takes on an attack profile and essentially lets the enemy air defenses shoot at the MALD (though it is programmed to not allow the enemy shoot it down easily). The MALD flies a complex course, jinks and maneuvers, and generally flies in the manner that a 4th generation aircraft would fly on a SEAD mission.

     The MALD can be carried by most US and US-allied aircraft, and they are small so many can be carried Even UAVs such as the Predator can carry them while taking up minimal hardpoint space.

     The ADM-160C MALD-J is an advanced version of the MALD; the primary difference is construction of mostly cheaper and lighter carbon fiber, and is designed to be an active radar jammer in addition to being a decoy.  To this end, it has a high ECM, ECCM, and IRCM rating, as well as carrying a small amount of flares and chaff bundles.  When the MALD-J is swept by an emitter, it automatically transmits a coded signal to friendly aircraft alerting them to the size, strength, and position of the emitter. The MALD-J can also be controlled by friendly aircraft equipped with the appropriate datalink.  Finally, if all else fails or the MALD-J may go into a terminal dive into enemy units; this attack has a rating of C2  B12 and a penetration of 20.

     The ADM-160D MALI (Miniature Air-Launched Interceptor), is generally controlled by AWACS-type aircraft, though any appropriately-equipped aircraft may control it. It was designed specifically as a UAV, missile, and aircraft interceptor, killing by scoring a direct hit on the target.  It has only minimal ECM and IRCM profiles, and destroys its target by a direct hit using a tungsten rod in the nose and having a Penetration of 30.

     The ADM-160E MALD-V is a modular version, with the ability to convert it to any other of the MALD variants by being able to easily swap out mission equipment.  ECM, IRCM, heat signatures, radar signatures, and radio emissions may all be adjusted to give the MALD whatever profile is necessary, including mixed missions such as a combination of MALI and high ECM and IRCM signatures, a simulation of attack aircraft radar, etc, Payload options include small explosives warheads like HE-FRAG, HEAT, and FAE.

     The ADM-160DF MASSM (Miniature Autonomous Search and Strike Missile) generally has a more low-observable configuration, and due to its small size and home-on-jam capability, is meant to function as a maneuverable ARM.  It uses a warhead which is a combination of HE-FRAG and continuous-rod fragmentation, with a rating of C4  B40 and a penetration of 40C.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

ADM-160B MALD

$45,497

JP8

Nil

136 kg

0

1

Radar (3km)

ADM-160C MALD-J

$81,736

JP8

Nil

94 kg

0

1

Radar (10 km)

ADM-160D MALI

$100,143

JP8

Nil

94 kg

1

1

Radar (10 km)

ADM-160F MASSM

$125,819

JP8

Nil

94 kg

0

1

Radar (15 km)

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

ADM-160B MALD

933

259 (18)

NA  230  4/2  40/20

38

50

20000

ADM-160C MALD-J

1229

341 (18)

NA  303  4/2  40/20

38

46

30000

ADM-160D MALI

1229

341 (18)

NA  303  4/2  40/20

38

46

30000

 

1229

341 (18)

NA  303  4/2  40/20

38

46

20000

 

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

ADM-160B MALD

GPS, Manual Control (Radio Link, 500 km)

Laser Rangefinder, Satcom, Secure Radios, Stealth 3, ECM 2, ECCM 1, IRCM 1, (All 75 km), Flares (12), Chaff (12), Radio Jamming (30 km), Hot Exhaust

Air Drop; No Independent Landing

ADM-160C MALD-J

GPS, Manual Control (Radio Link, 500 km)

Laser Rangefinder, Satcom, Secure Radios, Stealth 3, ECM 3, ECCM 3, IRCM 2, (All 75 km), Flares (12), Chaff (12), Radio Jamming (50 km), Hot Exhaust

Air Drop; No Independent Landing

ADM-160D MALI

GPS, Manual Control (Radio Link, 500 km)

Laser Rangefinder, Satcom, Secure Radios, Stealth 3, ECM 1, ECCM 1, IRCM 1 (all 75 km), Flares (12, Chaff (12), Hot Exhaust

Air Drop; No Independent Landing

ADM160F MASSM

GPS, Manual Control (Radio Link, 500 km)

Laser Rangefinder, Satcom, Secure Radios, Stealth 3,, ECM 2, ECCM 2, IRCM 2 (all 75), Flares (12, Chaff (12), Radar Detector (75 km), Radio Detector (75 km), Laser Detector (300m)

Air Drop; No Independent Landing

 

 

Scarab

     Notes: This is the predecessor of the BQM-145A, flying for the US Air Force since the late 1980s.  It is similar in design and performance to the BQM-145A, a bit larger and slower than that vehicle, and lacking in some of the more advanced features of the BQM-145A, as well as the hardpoints.  It is basically a high-speed reconnaissance machine, used for pre-strike reconnaissance, target designation, and battle damage assessment.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$70,000

AvG

132 kg

1.13 tons

4

6

FLIR, Image Intensification, Radar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

915

1540 (200)

NA  720  6/4  60/40

236

53

13100

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

GPS, Autonomic Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 925 km)

2xVideo Camera, 2xStill Camera, Synthetic Aperture Radar, ECM, 5xChaff Bundles, 5xIR Flares, SIGINT Gear, Secure Radio, Satcom Radio

Takeoff: Rail w/RATO booster; Landing: Parachute

 

Scorpion

     Notes: This light UAV was used as a short-range reconnaissance drone by the US Army, British Army, and French Navy, as well as for research purposes by NASA's Goddard Flight Center.  It is a VTOL aircraft, using "freewing" technology, where the fuselage with engine may rotate freely to match the needs of flight.  The UAV may fly like an aircraft or hover over targets like a helicopter, and it is nearly impossible to stall.  It may carry several different payloads, for basic reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and antisubmarine work.  The EW suite jams enemy radio and radar within a 20 km radius.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$12,500

AvG

25.9 kg

174 kg

3

5

(Recon Mode) FLIR, Image Intensification; (EW Mode) None; (ASW Mode) Radar, Sonar

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

220

375

30/175

44

8.8

4570

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 200 km)

(Recon Mode) Video Camera, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, Laser Rangefinder, Secure Radio; (EW Mode) Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Radar Jammer, Radio Jammer, SIGINT Gear, Secure Radio; (ASW Mode) 6xSonobuoys, 2 Hardpoints, Secure Radio

6m Primitive Runway

 

Sentry

     Notes: This UAVs manufacturing company, S-TEC, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of autopilot systems, so the Sentry has one of the best autopilot and autonomous function systems in the world of RPVs, providing a rock-steady camera platform and excellent maneuverability.  Its customers include the US Military, from operational units to the research labs, and governmental agencies such as the CIA, NSA, Border Patrol, FBI, and DEA. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$8,100

G, AvG

34 kg

113 kg

3

3

Passive IR, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

150

260 (80)

NA  130  5/3  50/40

36

4.5

4880

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 370 km)

Video Camera, Still Camera, Real-Time Video Link, Secure Radio

Takeoff: Catapult or Runway (490m); Landing: Paraglider, Parachute, or Runway (360m); Primitive Runway

 

Sentry HP

     Notes: This is a larger and more capable version of the Sentry, with a better sensor suite and the capability to carry underwing stores on two hardpoints, and a slightly different design.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$11,000

G, AvG

42.5 kg

152 kg

3

4

FLIR, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

160

275 (80)

NA  135  5/3  50/30

48

6

4880

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 370 km)

2xVideo Cameras, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, Radio Direction Finder, Secure Radio

2 Hardpoints

Takeoff: Catapult or Runway (560m); Landing: Paraglider, Parachute, or Runway (410m); Primitive Runway

 

Shadow 200

     Notes: This multipurpose drone was the fourth try for the US Army to develop a medium multipurpose UAV to replace earlier designs.  It has two hardpoints, one other each wing, to carry weapons or extra electronics.  It has a good suite of observation gear and can carry a wide variety of other equipment.  When used as an EW vehicle, the Shadow 200 makes all enemy radio and radar use 2 levels harder within a radius of 20 kilometers.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$10,800

G, AvG

27.2 kg

149 kg

3

4

Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

195

335 (165)

NA  165  7/4  70/40

43.9

8.8

4575

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 200 km)

(Recon Load) Video Camera, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, Secure Radio; (EW Load) ECM, Radio Direction Finder, Radar Detector, Secure Radio, Radar Jammer, Radio Jammer

Takeoff: Rail w/RATO booster, Runway (505m); Landing: Net, Runway (370m); Primitive Runway

 

Shadow 600

     Notes: This is a larger, more capable version of the Shadow 200.  It had more sales than the Shadow 200, in service with several US allies.  Endurance is greatly increased, both by larger fuel tanks and more efficient engines.  The sensor package is better, as is the load carrying capability.  If an EW package is carried, the vehicle makes all enemy radio and radar use 2 levels more difficult in a radius of 30 km.  In addition, this drone is sometimes used as an antiradar missile, jamming enemy radio and radar transmissions until its fuel runs out or it is commanded by ground control, then diving to hit an enemy radar with the cargo area taken up by a small warhead.  The vehicle, like the Shadow 200, has two underwing hardpoints.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$19,200

AvG

38.6 kg

265 kg

3

4

FLIR, Image Intensification

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

180

315 (165)

NA  155  7/4  70/40

78

5.6

5180

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Autopilot, Manual Control (Radio Link, 200 km)

(Recon Load) 2xVideo Cameras, Still Camera, Real-Time Camera Link, SIGINT Gear, Secure Radio; (EW Load) ECM, IRCM, Radio Direction Finder, SIGINT Gear, Radar Detector, Radar Jammer, Radio Jammer, Secure Radio

Internal Warhead Section

Takeoff: Rail w/RATO Booster,  Catapult, Runway (715m); Landing: Net, Parachute, or Runway (525m); Primitive Runway

 

Skyeye

     Notes: The initial version of this US RPV was first flown in 1982, but was not adopted until many improvements had been made, by the US Army in 1992.  Since then, it has also been sold to Morocco, Egypt, Thailand, and Taiwan, as well as civilian agencies (it can be fitted with sprayer nozzles and tanks and used for insecticide spraying).  Its military use is generally as a reconnaissance drone, though its ability to use sprayer mechanisms led it to be used late in the Twilight War to spray chemical agents on enemy troops.  It is a medium-sized UAV with a moderate load-carrying ability.  If not carrying a sprayer system, a hardpoint under each wing may carry weapons, extra equipment, or droppable intelligence devices.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Ground Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

$25,400 (C/R)

G, AvG

82 kg

354 kg

3

4

FLIR

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

165

285 (110)

NA  140  5/3  50/30

60.1

7.5

4570

 

Guidance/Control

Sensors/Equipment

Armament

Takeoff/Landing

Autonomous Function, Manual Control (Radio Link, 185 km)

2xVideo Cameras, 2xStill Cameras, Secure Radios; or chemical sprayer Nozzles and Tanks

2 Hardpoints

Takeoff: Catapult or Runway (690m); Landing: Parachute, Paraglider, or Runway (505m); Primitive Runway