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List Of Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles

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An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a Unmanned aircraft System (UAS) or a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot (called a Combat Systems Officer on UCAVs) or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and serve diverse purposes. They may have a wingspan as large as a Boeing 737 or smaller than a radio-controlled model airplane. A pilot on the ground is always in charge of UAS operations. Until recently, UASs mainly supported military and security operations, but that is rapidly changing. Unmanned aircraft promise new ways to increase efficiency, save money, enhance safety and even save lives. Interest is growing in a broad range of uses such as aerial photography, surveying land and crops, monitoring forest fires and environmental conditions, and protecting borders and ports against intruders.

UAV Classification(General)

  • Target and decoy - providing ground and aerial gunnery a target that simulates an enemy aircraft or missile
  • Reconnaissance - providing battlefield intelligence
  • Combat - providing attack capability for high-risk missions
  • Logistics - UAVs specifically designed for cargo and logistics operation
  • Research and development - used to further develop UAV technologies to be integrated into field deployed UAV aircraft
  • Civil and Commercial UAVs - UAVs specifically designed for civil and commercial applications

Classes of UAS

  • Small – Man carried and launched (Raven)
  • Tactical – Vehicular transportable and assisted launch (Shadow)
  • MALE - Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Predator)
  • HALE – High Altitude Long Endurance (Global Hawk)

Characteristics of UAS

  • Small - 2,000 ft (600 m) altitude and 2 km range
  • Tactical – 5,000 ft (1,500 m) altitude and up to 10 km range
  • MALE - up to 30,000 ft (9,000 m) and range over 200 km
  • HALE - over 30,000 ft and indefinite range
RQ-11 Raven (Small)

    Mission: The RQ-11 Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System is a small man-portable UAS that performs reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions

    Features: The Raven back-packable UAS features two air vehicles or AVs, a ground control unit, remote video terminal, transit cases and support equipment. Two specially trained Airmen operate the Raven AV. The AV can be controlled manually or can autonomously navigate a preplanned route. The Raven includes a color electro-optical camera and an infrared camera for night operations. The air vehicle is hand-launched, weighs less than 5 pounds, has a range of 10-15 kilometers and an endurance of up to 80 minutes.

    Background: The Raven system has proven itself in combat supporting U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other areas of conflict. The Raven is now used by all of the military services. Air Force security forces are currently purchasing the Raven UAS to replace its aging Desert Hawk UAS.


    Primary Function: Situational awareness and direct target information
    Contractor: Aerovironment, Inc.
    Power Plant: Electric Motor, rechargeable lithium ion batteries
    Wingspan: 4.5 feet (1.37 meters)
    Weight: 4.2 lbs (1.9 kilograms)
    Weight (ground control unit): 17 lbs (7.7 kilograms)
    Speed: 30-60 mph (26-52 knots) Range: 8-12 km (4.9-7.45 miles)
    Endurance: 60-90 minutes
    Operating Altitude: 150-500 feet air ground level (45-152 meters)
    System Cost:  approximately $173,000 (2004 dollars)
    Payload: High resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager
    Date deployed:  2004
    Inventory:  Classified

RQ-7 Shadow (Tactical)

    The Shadow 200 is a small, lightweight, tactical UAV system. The system is comprised of air vehicles, modular mission payloads, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment.

    The air vehicle is intended to provide coverage of a brigade area of interest for up to four hours, at 50 kilometers from the launch and recovery site

    The maximum range is 125 kilometers (limited by datalink capability), and operations are generally conducted from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above ground level during the day and 6,000 to 8,000 feet above ground level at night

    The air vehicle uses a pneumatic launcher and is lands automatically by means of Sierra Nevada's Tactical Automatic Landing System (TALS) without pilot intervention on the runway

    The air vehicle can be stopped using an arresting hook and cable system.


    Wingspan: 14 ft in (3.87 m)
    Speed 194.5km/h (105kt)
    Flight Ceiling 4,572m (15,000ft)
    Endurance 5 to 7 hours
    Mission Radius 200km
    Climb Rate 300m to 450m a minute
    Take-Off Distance (Launcher) 10m
    Maximum Dash Speed 219km/h (118kt)
    Cruise Speed 167km/h (90kt)
    Loiter Speed 111km/h (60kt)
    Data links:
    X band, C band, UHF
    Standard Datalink Range 50km
    Optional Datalink Range 200km

MQ-1 Predator (MALE)

    Mission: The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft system  The MQ-1's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets

    The basic crew for the Predator is one pilot and two sensor operators. They fly 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 flight
    The aircraft is equipped with a color nose camera (generally used by the pilot for flight control), a day variable-aperture TV camera, a variable-aperture infrared camera (for low light/night), and other sensors as the mission requires.  The cameras produce full-motion video
    The MQ-1 Predator carries the Multi-spectral Targeting System which integrates electro-optical, infrared, laser designator and laser illuminator into a single sensor package


    Wingspan: 48.7 feet (14.8 meters)
    Length: 27 feet (8.22 meters)
    Height: 6.9 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: up to 400 nautical miles (454 miles)
    Ceiling: up to 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
    Armament: two laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles

RQ-4 Global Hawk (HALE)

    Features: The Global Hawk system consists of the RQ-4 aircraft, mission control element, or MCE, launch and recovery element, or LRE, sensors, communication links, support element and trained personnel
    The IMINT sensors include synthetic aperture radar, electro-optical and medium-wave infrared sensors.
    The system offers a wide variety of employment options
    The long range and endurance of this system allow tremendous flexibility in meeting mission requirements.


    Primary function: High-altitude, long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
    Contractor: Northrop Grumman (Prime), Raytheon, L3 Comm
    Power Plant: Rolls Royce-North American AE 3007H turbofan
    Thrust: 7,600 pounds
    Wingspan: (RQ-4A) 116 feet (35.3 meters); (RQ-4B) 130.9 feet (39.8 meters)
    Length: (RQ-4A) 44 feet (13.4 meters); RQ-4B, 47.6 feet (14.5 meters)
    Height: RQ-4A 15.2 (4.6 meters); RQ-4B, 15.3 feet (4.7 meters)
    Speed: RQ-4A, 340 knots (391 mph); RQ-4B, 310 knots (357 mph)
    Range: RQ-4A, 9,500 nautical miles; RQ-4B, 8,700 nautical miles
    Ceiling: 60,000 feet (18,288 meters)