However, nothing lasts forever – after 21 years of service time, "Predator" came to an end as its heir – reconnaissance-strike a Reaper drone (MQ-9 Reaper), named after a mythical Reaper – collector of souls, is significantly more adapted to the wars of the new Millennium. Still, after the "Reaper" carries much more weight various weapons – about 1400 kg against 100 kg "Predator" and has two times more speed and almost twice the range!
9 March 2018 air force base Creech held the official ceremony of removing the drone "Predator" with weapons. However, until December 2018 "Predators" will continue to serve on the battlefields of the greater Middle East.
THE BIRTH OF "THE BEAST"
The contract for the development of a new reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle, which was given the designation "Predator", the company "General Atomics Aeronautics systems" received in January 1994. According to the contract, she had until June 1996 to complete the phase technology demonstration and prototype, for which the customer is the American Military-vodochnye force (IAF) is paid for the supply to the test the three intelligence systems, which included three ground control stations and 12 drones. The official presentation of the project unmanned aerial vehicle "Predator" was held in 1995 from April to may of that year, experienced "Predator" participated in the flight trials on the ground of United States Armed forces in the framework of the comprehensive exercises Roving Sands 1995. Exploited system soldiers of the army and naval forces of the United States, while program management was transferred to the Management of joint programmes for unmanned aircraft systems of the U.S. Navy (JPO-UAV).
The test results were very encouraging, and the military-political leadership of the United States, it was decided in the summer of that year, to send one intelligence system to the Balkans. According to others, the first "predator" arrived in Albania, in the district of Gagri, in the spring of 1995. The experience of using UAVs new type in the Balkans was considered a success, and the beginning of the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. air force has already signed with the developer contracts for the delivery of 60 aircraft of the type "Predator". Of this number, according to official command of the U.S. air force in the subsequent operations in Afghanistan lost 20 drones, mostly due to difficult weather conditions and lack of preparedness of operators.
And it is "Predatory" just a week after the attacks of September 11, 2001, has plied the airspace of Afghanistan, searching for targets for subsequent attacks is given in full combat readiness of the American military machine. And in early October of that year, controlled by the military and specialists from the Central intelligence Agency "predators" started to attack the most important targets on the territory controlled by the Taliban and terrorists areas. In particular, 7 October 2001, it seriously "Predator" with serial number 3034 first got a job, opening a new era in the history of warfare. Robot-killer had to destroy the founder of the Taliban, Muhammad Umar, also known as Mullah Omar. However, the job he had failed, but today anyone can see this drone in the exposition of the National Museum of air and space Smithsonian. It is noteworthy that Mullah Omar, believed to be ten years later still eliminated another "winged assassin".
SCOUT – KILLERS
The official designation of Armed now USA for unmanned aircraft system drone "Predator" for all time of its existence was the following:
– experienced with unmanned aircraft – the RQ-1 Predator (where R is intelligence, and the Q – drone);
– pre-production of unmanned aircraft – the RQ-1A Predator;
serial drones – RQ-1B Predator.
Drones wore official designation: pre-production RQ-1K and serial – RQ-1L.
Since 2002, all the "predatory" are accepted in the US air force the official military designation MQ-1, where M is a multi-purpose or, as we used to call them, reconnaissance and strike.
Following the drone, created on the basis of UAV "Predator" and taking into account the experience of operation in combat conditions and new customer demands, become the intelligence and reconnaissance-strike options for unmanned aircraft systems UAV-type "Predator" (Predator Block 1), which was awarded the "labor" designation RQ-1B (reconnaissance) or the MQ-1B (reconnaissance and strike), and the actual UAV received the designation respectively RQ-1L and MQ-1L.
Among the main differences of the new UAV can be called more powerful powerplant on the base four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which allowed to increase the size and weight of the machine, the presence of de-icing systems and, most importantly, the ability to use different weapons, what the drone was equipped with underwing pylons, and a laser designator. Arms: two anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) AGM-114 "Hellfire" (Hellfire), or four anti-aircraft guided missiles (AAGM) AIM-92 "stinger" (Stinger) class "air–air", or six guided missiles (UR) the Griffin (Griffin) class "air–surface".
Test armed "Predator" was held on 21 February 2001, of the three released ATGM "Hellfire" all were in a stationary tank target, although subsequent tests in the same year – in may and June – was pretty controversial (and during the tests, even the simulated attack by "predatory" one of the Afghan residence of Osama bin Laden).
After adopting reconnaissance and strike unmanned aircraft, he received the designation of MQ-1A, latest machine of this type, the U.S. air force received 3 March 2011 – more data drones, in time to participate in the current NATO operation in Libya, the us military or other government agencies of the United States is not supplied.
Currently, the family of UAVs RQ-1/MQ-1 in different variants of equipment are in service with the air force and the Central intelligence Agency, the air force of Italy (32nd regiment) and the UK (39 squadron), delivered to the military of Turkey and Morocco, as well as units operated by customs and border services of the United States. When this is exported mainly to the naked option called "Predator XP" (Predator XP), able to solve only the tasks of reconnaissance, surveillance, and the issue of targeting.
THE ARMY GOES ITS OWN WAY
The Land forces command (ARMY) United States results of the tests on the new multi-purpose UAV extended-range (Extended-Range Multi-Purpose UAV) in August 2005, has chosen to replace the UAV type RQ-5 "hunter" (Hunter) – a modified drone, the designation MQ-1C "warrior" (Warrior; "General Atomics", the unit was designated as a "sky warrior" / Sky Warrior), later renamed the "grey Eagle" (Eagle Gray, where Gray is the American version of the word Grey and means "grey eagle").
A new unmanned aerial vehicle differs from its predecessor by installing a piston engine Thielert Centurion 1.7 HFE with a capacity of 135 HP, increased to 17 m span wing and increased to 8840 m practical ceiling, combat radius of 400 km and a flight duration of not less than 30-36 hours. A lot of useful, including combat, load, which may raise the apparatus is in the inner compartment – 261 kg on the external load – 227 kg fuel Weight – 272 kg.
The composition of avionics was included a combined system composed of radar with synthetic aperture beam AN/ZPY-1 and tracking system mobile ground targets, as well as multispectral sighting system AN/AAS-52 MTS (Multi-spectral Targeting System), while the underwing pylons can be suspended up to four anti-tank guided missiles AGM-114 "Hellfire" guided missiles or AIM-92 "stinger", or planning bombs GBU-44/B "Viper Strike". The first contract was estimated at 399 million dollars. (the development of the system and organization of small scale of production).
New army unmanned aircraft system with the drone reached a state of operational readiness in 2009, and in June 2010, the first four of the "grey eagle" in the naked version was directed for action against targets in Afghanistan. Drones stationed at a military base camp Taji (Iraq) and was subordinate to the 8th reconnaissance-strike battalion of the 229th aviation regiment, 40th combat aviation brigade. Moreover, after successful implementation in February 2011 on the Iraqi ground shadow range firing six anti-tank guided missiles "Hellfire" these drones were given permission to use as drums.
In addition, for the Navy and NASA was built and delivered in 1997 and 1996, one "civilian" version of the BLAH type "Predator", which received respectively the designations "Oltas" I (Altus) and "Oltas" II, the differences are not too much – mainly the presence of single-stage ("Oltas" I) and two ("Oltas" II) turbocharger.
I MYSELF AM NOT, BUT WILL NOT GIVE YOU
It is noteworthy that, sending all the "Predators" to resign the command of the U.S. air force is in no hurry to part with them. Drones will not be sold, as you might expect, either civil or private operators or abroad. They were simply sent to the warehouse. Why is an American General aviation don't want to sell like old and do not meet their requirements drones to America's allies – is not entirely clear. At least a clear explanation of representatives of the U.S. air force on this occasion was not given. It is possible that expressed their feelings of jealousy or they decided to play "dog in the manger". However, just recently, the interest in beushnye "predator" expressed the American admirals. However, pilots at the request of the sailors has yet to respond. Strange they, these American soldiers...
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