What is the predator drone?

Currently the aircraft has been employed by Italian, French and Spanish Air Force apart from several US agencies including US Air Force, US Department of Homeland Security and NASA. UK's Royal Air Force, has also acquired the drones.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 23, 2017 1:11 pm
A view of the Guardian (Maritime Predator B variant)

Days before Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi maiden meeting with US President Donald Trump, United States has reportedly cleared the sale of 22 predator Guardian drones to India. The “game changer” deal, according to governmental sources, is estimated to be around $2-3 billion and has been approved by the State Department. According to the source, the deal would mark a huge step for US-India relations as it would mark the status of “major defence partner”.

Here is everything you need to know about predator drones:

What are predator drones?

Named as “MQ-9 Reaper” by US Air Force and Royal Air Force customers, the Predator B is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Powered by a Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, the aircraft can be used for multiple missions and possesses higher capabilities than its predecessor aircraft. The engine of the aircraft is integrated with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC). It enhances the performance of the engine and increases its capability to prevent wasteful consumption of fuel at lower altitudes.

What are the features of the craft?

The craft can be flown for over 27 hours in the air at a maximum altitude of 50000 feet and a maximum speed of 240 KTAS. It has MIL-STD-1760 stores management system and seven external stations for carrying payloads. The maximum payload carrying capacity of the aircraft is 1,746 kg. With a fault tolerant, triple-redundant flight control system, the drone has more than 90 per cent system operational availability.

A view of Predator B. (General Atomic Aeronautics)

What are the uses of the drones?

According to defence contractors General Atomics,  the drones possess the capabilities to be used for long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over a wide-area. Easy configuration of the drone makes it easier to operate the aircraft during missions.

Which countries have used the drones in the past?

Currently the aircraft have been used by Italian, French and Spanish Air Force apart from several US agencies including US Air Force, US Department of Homeland Security and NASA. UK’s aerial warfare force, Royal Air Force, has also acquired the drones.

A view of Predator B ER. (General Atomic Aeronautics)

What are the new modifications going on with the drones?

The Predator B, over the years, has been modified into Predator B ER. The new model was fitted with retrofit-table capabilities such as wing-borne fuel pods and reinforced landing gear. The new modifications increased the endurance of the carrier from 27 hours to 34 hours. In 2016, another modification with the aircraft’s wingspan saw its endurance go up to 42 hours. To achieve the result, the length of the wingspan was increased to 79 feet from 66 feet so that it can hold the fuel previously stored in the fuel pods.

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  1. A
    Jun 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm
    This move by U.S clearly indicates they are very much now aware of chinese compe ion to U.S dominance.Its good for INDIA to learn technology good things from developed countries to make indians improve .
    1. R
      Jun 25, 2017 at 6:50 am
      Kindly note, these drones are silent, once flown they are invisible in the sky and can be equipped with offensive hellfires anytime in their lifetime. And... these drones can also be flown in other parts of India (or their neighbours). Note - they can be easily equipped with hellfires - so this is a good development. As India will always have to buy weapons due to the threat of Islamic radicalism in the neighbourhood - might as well buy quality.
      1. R
        Jun 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm
        there are many who just want to post negative comments irrespective to the topic pity such negative people who fail to look at any bright side once doesn't expect good comments from our frustrated p a k i s same don't expect from Indians
        1. K
          Jun 23, 2017 at 11:07 pm
          Why India seeks predators? To a p p e a s e USA.......Can a surveillance drone be developed by India? Brahmin scoundrels do not want Indian skill to develop. They just need some foreign collaborators from where those dumb a s s o l Es can buy technology just so they can appoint the sons of their c o n c u b I n e s get a job as CEOs. Because national security can be compromised but not the pride of brahminism.
          1. Arnav Saxena
            Jun 24, 2017 at 11:15 am
            I think u wer born because of ur brahmin neighbour
            1. M
              Jun 25, 2017 at 6:07 am
              Arnav: May be he fkker your brahmin mother!
            2. R
              Jun 25, 2017 at 6:46 am
              Dude... seriously? Drones... and of all things, caste? Completely got me there.
              1. 2
                Jun 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm
                U ..m###r ...F###kn ..Ass##le..K1.Im. I bet you must one of the parasitic leech .. Who feeds on reservation.. Given your lack of develop brain . U should refrain commenting on topics that so clearly out of gasp..
              2. T
                Jun 23, 2017 at 10:52 pm
                Looks like a impotent drone without any strike capability and yes the price is 10 times so where does the extra money go...........maybe Jeb loot li ji can answer (....oops sorry Jailey ji)
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