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Transformation in action: Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prowls Iraq

TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq, June 30, 2003 (AFPN) -- It hunts alone, flying quietly for more than 20 hours at a time, carefully scouring the Earth for the most minute evidence of ground activity and discretely relaying intelligence information to analysts half a world away.

But on a moment's notice, the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle can transform itself from a forward aerial observer to an opportunist attack-craft capable of delivering an armor-busting missile with pin-point accuracy.

The Predator is a complete system, not just an airframe by itself. A fully operational system consists of four aircraft with sensors, a ground-control station, a satellite link and about 55 people to support continuous 24-hour operations. To the airmen here who fly them, the system is more than just an expensive video game.

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Airmen from the 64th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron position a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at Tallil Air Base, Iraq. The Predator is a complete system, not just an individual airframe. A fully operational system consists of four Predator units, a ground-control station, a satellite link and about 55 people to support continuous 24-hour operations. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Deb Smith

Inside the Predator’s brain, there is room for a crew of two.

Full Story by Air Force 2nd Lt. Gerardo Gonzalez, 407th Air Expeditionary Group Service

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Date last modified: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 12:03 PM EDT

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