What is a drone?
Drones remotely piloted craft first appeared in the 1990s when they were used for military surveillance by the US. Familiar advances in miniaturisation and cost mean they are now used for all kinds of purposes
Which countries are the main users of drones?
The first phase of drone warfare was dominated by three countries: the US, the UK and Israel. The US and UK rely on Predator and latterly Reaper drones made by General Atomics, a Californian company owned by billionaire brothers Neal and Linden Blue. Israel develops its own technology.
Drones rapidly proliferated in a second wave over the past five years, with Pakistan and Turkey developing their own programmes. Since 2016, Turkey has used drones heavily, against the separatist Kurdish PKK in its own country, in northern Iraq and more recently against Kurdish groups in Syria.
China, meanwhile, has begun supplying a range of countries with its Wing Loong and CH series drones, including to the UAE – where they have been used in a string of deadly strikes in Libya – as well as Egypt Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, although not every country has been able to deploy what it has bought.
Proliferation is expected to continue, not least because Russia and India are running behind.
The Most Dangerous Drones in The World are owned by the U.S.
1. Predator C ( Avenger)
Predator C Avenger can carry Hellfire missiles and guided bombs and ammunition. The most dangerous drone in the world.
The Predator C Avenger is a remotely piloted aircraft developed by GA‑ASI. The first flight of the aircraft was conducted in April 2009. The combat drone has a maximum take-off weight of 8,255kg.
It is capable of carrying multiple sensor payloads attached to its wing hard-point mountings while its internal weapons bay can carry precision mutations and large sensors up to 1,588kg. The total payload capacity of the aircraft is 2948kg. Its weapon payload includes Hellfire missiles, guided bomb unit (GBU)-12/49 laser-guided bombs, GBU-31 GBU-32, GBU-38 38 joint direct attack munitions (JDMA) and GBU-39 and GBU-16/48 bombs.
The Predator C Avenger offers greater operational and transit speeds than Predator B aircraft. Powered by Pratt and Whitney PW545B turbofan engine, the combat drone is capable of reaching altitudes up to 50,000ft. It has a maximum speed of 400k and endurance of 20 hours.
Predator B (MQ-9 Reaper) UAS is in service with the US Air Force, Nasa, the Royal Air Force and the Italian, French and Spanish air forces. Developed by GA-ASI, the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is designed to comply with the STANAG 4671 Nato standards.
2.Predator B (The Reaper)
The Predator B combat drone is twice as fast as its predecessor Predator and can carry 500% more payload. It is capable of reaching maximum altitudes up to 50,000ft and has a maximum speed of 240k and endurance of 27 hours.
Powered by a Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, the UAV can hold a maximum payload of 1,746kg, including an external payload of 1,361kg. It is capable of carrying multi-mission payloads such as EO/IR systems, Lynx multi-mode radar, multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, electronic support measures (ESM), laser designators. It can also hold various weapon systems, including GM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II bombs, and a GBU-JDAM kit.
This is the same drone that killed Iranian General Soleimani.
3. Heron Tp
Heron TP, also known as Eitan, is an automatic taxi-take-off and landing (ATOL) drone designed and developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The combat drone is in service with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
It is capable of carrying a maximum payload of 2,700kg, which includes multiple mission systems such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR), Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), communication intelligence sensors, and combat payloads such as guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles.
Powered by a single Pratt and Whitney PT-6A 1,200bhp engine, the aircraft can endure for more than 30 hours while flying at a maximum speed of 220kt. The maximum permissible take-off weight of the aircraft is 5,670kg.
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