The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: MQ-1B Predator

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and F-16 Fighting Falcon return from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission. Both aircraft provide intelligence, search and reconnaissance gathering features, as well as munitions capability to support ground troops and base defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Shannon Collins)

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and F-16 Fighting Falcon return from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission. Both aircraft provide intelligence, search and reconnaissance gathering features, as well as munitions capability to support ground troops and base defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Shannon Collins)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Manufacturer: General Atomics

Function: Armed Reconnaissance, Airborne Surveillance and Target Acquisition

Service Date: 1996

Speed: Up to 135 mph

Crew (GCS): Two

Production: 186 Inventory: 126

Commentary: An operational Predator system includes four air vehicles, a ground control station (GCS), satellite link, and 55 personnel for 24-hour operations. The system first deployed in 1999 for surveillance missions over Bosnia and Iraq. The U.S. Army variant of the MQ-1 is called the “Warrior” or “Grey Eagle” and is unarmed.