What is MQ-9B Predator?

1 min read
What is MQ-9B Predator? Blog Image


The Defence Ministry recently accorded its approval to procure 30 MQ-9B Predator drones (SeaGuardian variant) from the US to crank up the surveillance apparatus of the armed forces.

About MQ-9B Predator:

  • It is a high-altitude, long-endurance armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.
  • It is a variant of the MQ-9 "Reaper" developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), with its primary purpose being for the United States Air Force (USAF).
  • The United States uses these drones for surveillance, intelligence gathering, and airstrikes
  • The MQ-9B drone has two variants: Sky Guardian and Sea Guardian. The latter has been in operation by the Indian Navy since 2020.
  • Features:
    • It can carry up to 5,670 kg and has a fuel capacity of 2,721 kg.
    • It can operate at altitudes exceeding 40,000 feet.
    • It can fly as close as 250 metres from the ground without the target even having an inkling it is there unless spotted.
    • With a maximum endurance of 40 hours, they provide a reliable platform for prolonged surveillance.
    • It has a top speed of 275 mph, or 442 km/h.
    • It is armed with strike missiles, allowing it to engage and eliminate enemy targets with high precision. It can carry four Hellfire missiles and around 450 kg of bombs.
    • This feature enhances its effectiveness in various roles, including land and maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, and expeditionary missions.
    • It is capable of automatic take-offs and landings, providing operational flexibility. 
    • It can safely integrate into civil airspace, enabling joint forces and civil authorities to obtain real-time situational awareness in the maritime domain, day or night.

Q1: What is an unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft that carries no human pilot or passengers. UAVs—sometimes called drones—can be fully or partially autonomous but are more often controlled remotely by a human pilot. RAND research has contributed to the public discussion on the use of drones for warfare and surveillance.

Source: India to strategically place 'hunter-killer' Predator drones from US in UP, Tamil Nadu