Italeri ITA48148 USAF General Atomics MQ-1B Predator Drone - 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada (1:72 Scale)
"That distance and that separation is there that prevents you from feeling that piece of the airplane, or maybe being as one with the airplane. But what it also does is take the risk out of you flying the airplane, so you don't have to worry about being shot down."
- USAF pilot of a Predator drone
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by General Atomics and used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Initially conceived in the early 1990s for reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.
The USAF describes the Predator as a "Tier II" MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or "air vehicles" with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite. Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base.
Following 2001, the RQ-1 Predator became the primary unmanned aircraft used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas; it has also been deployed elsewhere. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified, U.S. military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance-gathering abilities of UAVs but declined to publicly discuss their offensive use.
Civilian applications have included border enforcement and scientific studies, and to monitor wind direction and other characteristics of large forest fires (such as the one that was used by the California Air National Guard in the August 2013 Rim Fire).
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale diecast replica of a USAF General Atomics MQ-1B Predator Drone that is attached to the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
Wingspan: 6 inches
Length: 3-1/4 inches
Release Date: February 2014