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

3 comments
CharlesG1970
CharlesG1970

You seem to be talking in the past tense... They are already in use...

Systems Guy
Systems Guy

I applaude this technology and it's original intended use, i.e., in a war theatre, however, anyone is a fool who thinks these will never be used on US civilians during peace time. Further anyone who says they won't be are liars.

buddyfarr
buddyfarr

CharlesG1970 is correct. these are already in use in civilian areas in the U.S.A. They have been for quite a while.