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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., MQ-1L Predator A

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The Predator can provide near real-time reconnaissance using a satellite data link system and perform attack missions as well. It served over the Balkans and Afghanistan and during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The most historic use of the Predator/Hellfire missile combination occurred when CIA ground forces directed attacks against al Qaeda forces during the opening months of the war on terrorism.

This U.S. Air Force Predator was one of the first three UAVs to fly operational missions over Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It went on to fly 196 combat missions in Afghanistan. It was also the first Predator to test fire the Hellfire missile, and the first UAV to fire Hellfire missiles in combat. With modifications to its wing length, propeller, avionics, and engine cooling system, it has served as the prototype for subsequent MQ-IL aircraft.

Collection Item Long Description:

Predator, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of both reconnaissance and attack missions, has proven itself indispensable as a "real-time" observation platform and was the first remotely piloted UAV to fire offensive weapons against enemy combat forces in history. These capabilities have been demonstrated in the skies over the Balkans, Afghanistan, and during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003). The most notable use of the Predator/Hellfire combination occurred when CIA ground forces directed multiple attacks against Al-Qaeda forces during the opening months of America's ongoing war against terrorism.

The Predator provides warfighters with near-real-time reconnaissance and is equipped with a satellite data link system, an Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) stabilized gimbal containing two color video cameras and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) as well as synthetic aperture radar (SAR). NASM's aircraft has logged more than 200 combat sorties over Afghanistan and was one of the first to fly operational missions there after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

#3034 was the first Predator to fire a Hellfire C missile during the testing phase, #3034 also fired the first combat Hellfire missile at targets in Afghanistan shortly after the 11 September 2001 terror attacks against the United States.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the United States Air Force

Materials

Carbon fiber, alumimum, steel, copper, plastic, glass, rubber, paint

Dimensions

Overall: 6ft 10 11/16in. x 26ft 11 5/8in. x 55ft 9in. (2.1m x 8.22m x 14.8m)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Date

2000

Physical Description

Satellite data link system, an Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) stabilized gimbal containing two color video cameras and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) as well as synthetic aperture radar (SAR)

Type

CRAFT-Aircraft

Inventory Number

A20040180000