Warplanes: June 1, 2003


The success of the MQ-1 Predator has made this UAV so popular that orders have increased to 120. ABout 90 have been built so far, and it was thought that only 100 would be built before production shifted to the larger MQ-9 Predator B. The larger, five ton, MQ-9 UAV can carry over a ton of Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles, Hellfire air to ground missiles or 250 pound JDAM smart bombs, plus it's sensors. The U.S. Air Force has already bought five MQ-9s for testing and evaluation, but plans to buy at least eight a year for the next few years as the larger Predator enters regular service. 


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