Iraq: August 27, 2001


Iraq has finally shot down a US aircraft near their southern city of Basra. But they didn't get a pilot because what they brought down was a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), piloted by someone on the ground over a hundred miles away. The RQ-1 Predator is one of the more successful reconnaissance UAVs. A  second generation Predator is being tested that carries missiles for attacking ground targets. The Predator weighs a little over a ton fully loaded and has a range of 700 kilometers. Top speed is 200 kilometers as hour. Each RQ-1 unit costs $25 million and has four Predators, 55 troops and lots of electronic equipment for controlling the aircraft and transmitting data (via satellite) to users. The RQ-1 is 27 feet long and has a 49 foot wingspan.  Meanwhile, American  warplanes hit air defense targets in northern Iraq. 


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