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Wed, Mar 30, 2005

USAF Confirms Second Predator Crash in Iraq

An MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle crashed in Rawah, Iraq, at about 7 p.m. on March 30, officials said. The Predator is the second one to crash, in Iraq, this week.

The aircraft was assigned to the 15th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. It was in the U.S. Central Command area of operations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A board of officers will investigate the accident.

MQ-1 Predator Data

Initially fielded as the RQ-1, an advanced concept technology demonstrator, the Predator was first used in the Balkan theater in the mid-1990s. The change in designation from "R" (reconnaissance) to "M" (multi-role) occurred in 2002. The "Q" is the Department of Defense designation for unmanned aircraft system. The "1" refers to the aircraft being the first of a series of purpose-built unmanned reconnaissance aircraft systems.

The Predator system was designed in response to a Department of Defense requirement to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to the warfighter.

In April 1996, the secretary of defense selected the U.S. Air Force as the operating service for the Predator system. Operating responsibility is at the 11th, 15th and 17th Reconnaissance Squadrons, Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nev.

MQ-1 General Characteristics

Primary Function Armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition
Contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated
Power Plant Rotax 914, 4 cyl. engine, 101 HP
Length 27 feet
Height 6.9 feet
Weight 1,130 pounds empty, max T/O wt 2,250 pounds
Wingspan 48.7 feet
Speed Cruise speed around 84 mph, up to 135 mph
Range up to 400 nautical miles
Ceiling up to 25,000 feet
Fuel Capacity 665 pounds
Payload 450 pounds
System Cost $40 million
Initial Operational Capability March 1, 2005
Inventory Active force, 68; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0



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