After Hours

Eyes in the skies: Drones of today and tomorrow

The Predator B Reaper unmanned aerial system has served as an eye in the sky for the US Air Force, the UK's RAF and other military forces worldwide.

The drone can be used for a range of offensive and surveillance missions, including optical, infrared and radar monitoring, painting weapon targets with lasers and as an attack aircraft armed with missiles or laser-guided bombs.

The craft can operate at up to 50,000 feet, can carry a 1,746kg payload, travel at 240 knots - 276 mph - and stay in the air for more than 30 hours.

The Predator B's Honeywell turboprop engine is integrated with a digital electronic engine control, which improves engine performance and fuel efficiency - particularly at low altitudes.

Photo: Nick Heath/TechRepublic

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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