The Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed as an intelligence-collection asset and against dynamic execution targets.
The basic crew for the Predator is a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission, and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons as well as a mission coordinator, when required. The crew employs the aircraft from inside the ground control station via a line-of-sight data link or a satellite data link for beyond line-of-sight operations.
History of the LSFM Predator
This aircraft was built as tail number 07-3185 by General Atomics Corporation in 2007 with its first flight on August 1, 2008. The aircraft was delivered to the Air Force following acceptance flights and sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan where it flew 79 combat missions for 1276.2 total hours. Many of the missions were in excess of 20 hours each.
The aircraft was sent back to General Atomics in California for depot level repairs following a landing mishap on May 19, 2009. It remained with General Atomics briefly, as a contract ground test article and was marked as tail number 00-185 in November 2011. The Predator was then transferred to the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, at China Lake Naval Weapon Center for classified testing. 00-185 flew its last flight on Feb 12, 2018 for a total of 106 test flights and another 269.4 hours. The aircraft was then retired and put into storage at Davis Monthan Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona. Lone Star Flight Museum acquired the Predator through the Air Force Museum and took delivery on March 14, 2021.
The project to acquire, restore and display this distinctive plane was generously underwritten by Cher and John Floyd.
- Manufacturer: General Atomics
- Country: United States
- Type: Remotely Piloted Aircraft
- Engine: Rotax 914F four-cylinder engine, 115 horsepower
- Maximum speed: 135 mph
- Armamament: two laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
- Ceiling: 25, 000 feet
- Range: 770 miles
- Crew: Remote Pilot and Sensor Operator
- Length: 27 feet
- Wingspan: 55 feet
- Number built: 150