NOVA/PBS NOVAPBS
RQ-1 Predator (USA)
Having demonstrated its worth in the skies over the Balkans and most recently in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems RQ-1 Predator is a fixture in the U.S. Air Force, which has more than 60. Within a 450-mile range, Predator can provide 14 to 16 hours of surveillance via high definition color television, infrared cameras, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) before returning to its base. A ground team from a remote control station controls the plane either by a line-of-sight radio connection or via a satellite link. Though Predator was designed purely for reconnaissance use, several of these UAVs have been equipped with Hellfire antitank missiles and have successfully hit their targets.

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