Warplanes: June 25, 2003


Britain lost 23 of its Phoenix UAVs in Iraq. The U.S. lost four Predators, two on purpose, in the same time period. The Phoenix has been a problem since development began in 1982. The UAV wasn't ready for service until 1998, and has had nothing but problems since. Costing $2.4 million each, the 386 pound UAV has a payload of only 100 pounds. Top speed is 140 kilometers and it can stay in the air for five hours. But it requires a large 6x6 truck to catapult it into the air. Most of the UAVs lost have simply disappeared while out on a mission. The long development time was expensive as well, doubling the actual cost of each Phoenix. The British press have noted that the American Predator is larger (weighting a ton), more reliable, stays in the air longer (24 hours or more) and carries more sensors or weapons. Counting manufacturing and development costs, the Predator costs about the same as the Phoenix. As a result, the British are retiring the surviving Phoenix UAVs and looking at buying an Israeli or American UAV (but not the Predator.)


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close