Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Jack Kalicak

Background on Drones:

  • Drones are classified as: To the military, they are UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems). However, they are more commonly known as drones. Drones are used in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult. They provide troops with a 24-hour "eye in the sky", seven days a week.
  • There are two parts to drones. The actual drone and the control system.
  • These UAVs and RPASs can range from palm sized (PD-100 Black Hornet PRS) to the 200 foot Aerostat.
  • Most can serve a variety of purposes whether they are built for surveying or actual engagement of targets.
MQ-1 Predator

Specs of the PRedator:

  • Focus: "armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance, and target acquisition"
  • Wingspan: 55 feet
  • Length: 27 feet
  • Weight: 1,130 Pounds (But can take off at 2250 pounds)
  • Max Speed: 135 mph
  • Range: 770 miles
  • Maximum Altitude (Ceiling): 25,000 Feet
  • Cost for a "unit": $20,000,000

*A unit includes four of the aircraft, the sensors, ground control stations, and the Predator Primary Satellite Link

More information:

  • The Predator is contracted out through General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. to provide constant aerial details of the battle field to soldiers.
  • The Predator became even more notable, as it was the drone sent off just days after 9/11 to Afghanistan and the weaponize Predator project was given the go-ahead, as well with the first armed with Hellfire missiles, under a month after 9/11.
  • Originally the Predator was the RQ-1 predator denoting 3 things: It was a renaissance craft (R), was a remotely contrt aircraft (Q), and was the first in its series of the remotely controlled aircraft. This, however was changed once the mighty Hellfire missile capabilities were added. Changing its name from RQ-1 to MQ-1, the "M" signifying this was a multi-role aircraft.
  • August 11th, 2017 will mark 6 years of being over the million hours of development, testing, training, and combat of the Predator.
  • The birth of the Predator can one way or another be stretched and traced back to a man named Abraham Karem. Born in Baghdad he was a man that changed the face of US drone warfare forever. One of his aircraft could stay in the air for 56 hours catching the eyes of many military advisers who gave him money to fund his projects. Eventually the funds ran out as there was a lack of need UAV research and it was consolidated. This caused him to sell his company to Hughes Aircraft, who eventually ended up selling it to the company that producing the Predator now General Atomics in 1990.

Specs of the Reaper:

  • Focus: find, fix, and finish targets
  • Wingspan: 66 feet (20.1 metes)
  • Length: 36 feet (11 meters)
  • Height: 12.5 feet (3.8 meters)
  • Weight: 4,900 pounds (2,223 kilograms) but can take off at 10,500 pounds (4,760 kilograms)
  • Speed: up to 300 mph (482 kph)
  • Range: 1,150 miles (1,850 km) (1,000 nautical miles)
  • Maximum Altitude (Ceiling): Up to 50,000 feet (15,240 kilometers)
  • Cost for a "unit": $64,200,000

*A unit includes four of the aircraft, the sensors, ground control stations, and the Communications

More Information:

  • Armed with a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles (laser guided), GBU-12 Paveway II (A laser guided munition), and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (which are guided by synthetic aperture radar) the Reaper has the superior fire power capabilities (as it can hold more munitions) and can destroy almost anything it targets.
  • The MQ-9 Reaper is really like the Swiss Army Knife of UAV's and RPAS, as it armed with extremely accurate weapons, can go for long distances, and has multiple cameras and other identification sensors.
  • This is the ninth in the series of aircraft manufactured by General Atomics.



  • Focus: Search, Rescue, Reconnaissance in Confined area, Crowd Control, Inspection
  • Rotorspan (Helicopter): 4.7 inches (120mm)
  • Height: 1 inch tall
  • Length: 6.3 inches (16 centimeters)
  • Weight: 18 grams (with cameras) (Entire system is 1.3 kg)
  • Speed: up to 11.2 mph (5 meters a second)
  • Range: 1 mile (1.6km)

More Information:

  • Housing three cameras and currently no weapons this drone is used solely for observation and not any physical engagement, yet has many benefits due to it's small size. This drone is hard to spot, quiet, and far more maneuverable than massive drones like the Reaper and Predator allowing it to go in places they can't, saving lives and helping soldiers prepare for an fire-fight.
  • Currently British Soldiers are using the technology as well as a few other unnamed nations and the United States is showing interest upon them.
  • The company currently producing the drone is Prox Dynamics, which was founded in December of 2007 and its USA facility was founded in early 2014, as it allowed more interaction with the companies major focus of the United States. Prox Dynamics is also currently the largest PRS (Personal Reconnaissance System) company, and they pride themselves on "Simplicity, Innovation, and Dedication".

UAv and RpAS's Effect on Society

These inventions have a variety of effects on society today. They create controversy, as does everything involving a human life and are becoming increasingly publicized. Strikes under Donald Trump have already taken place in Yemen to kill al-Qaeda militants. However, the strikes did not directly need President Trump's signature. Barack Obama placed the authority of Yemen strikes of that nature upon the four-star commander of US central command, who is presently General Joseph Votel. Barack Obama himself had also authorized strikes on Yemen during his presidency including one in Yemen which "killed the al-Qaeda operatives behind the most serious plotting against American interests in years".

Drone Purposes

Top Left to Right: QF-4 Aerial Target, RQ-8 Fire Scout Bottom Left to Right: MQ-9 Reaper, APSARA

Currently there are a variety of ever-expanding purposes for drones. They have capabilities to observe lives, take lives, and also the best ability: to save lives. Drones can also be used to test weapons (QF-4 Aerial Target) or test areas that have unknown conditions (PD-100 Black Hornet PRS ). The observation of people and their lives comes from the high-resolution cameras on drones like the RQ-2A Pioneer, RQ-8 Fire Scout, RQ-7B Shadown, RQ-11B Raven, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk. These are all noncombat drones, just like the ones that were called in during the 13 hours of the attacks in Benghazi, during September 11th and 12th of 2012 depicted in 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff. Drones like the MQ-9 Reaper and Mq-1B Predator are the type that defend our country using forces to take out targets and helps our troops in battles. Finally the drones that help people can be any of the reconnaissance drones mentioned above to help find people and also ones delivered out of planes to access remote areas like the APSARA (Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions) does. The APSARA can carry in medicinal supplies or any other small package to the place of need and then decomposes quickly as it is made of mycelium. This creation was thought of by Otherlab and is in the prototype stage.

Future CAPABILITIES or thought

Top: DJI Phantom 3, Bottom Left: Disney's Drone Show, Bottom Middle: A Futuristic Drone Swarm Bottom Right: The SkyWall 100 Bazooka

Drones are on the rise whether they are the recreational ones DJI sells, or the million dollar plus drones that can shoot missiles. They are becoming more refined every day and the advent of nano drones becoming popular is near. UAVs and and RPASs are also becoming more dangerous and controversial as time passes. This controversy has sparked a great deal of debate on how and where drones should be used. Without a doubt, they are beginning to play increasingly more crucial role in society's move to autonomy and are helping save lives on the battlefield, carryout rescue missions or for pleasure at Disney. Swarms of these unmanned airships may be flying around soon and methods to take them down have already been created. This is only the very beginning!

Works Cited

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Burns, Matt. “The SkyWall 100 Bazooka Captures Drones with a Giant Net.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 4 Mar. 2016, techcrunch.com/2016/03/04/the-skywall-100-bazooka-captures-drones-with-a-giant-net/. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

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Zuckoff, Mitchell. 13 hours. Hachette Book Group, 9 Sept. 2014

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