What goes into a Predator prowl over a war zone

Take-off and landings done by line-of-sight control, by satellite link while in flight

To find out what it takes to launch, guide and recover a Predator B unmanned aircraft system on a long-range surveillance mission, a TechNewsDaily news team visited a mobile ground control station at Amendola airbase in southeast Italy where it learned that a 12-hour mission to a global hot spot can require up to three crews.

The Italian Predators, which are not armed, are launched on a typical mission from a forward operating location under direct line-of-sight control of the local ground station, then they are taken over by another crew via satellite link, and, finally, recovered by another crew in line-of-sight control of the unmanned aircraft.

The flight crews typically include a mission monitor, pilot, sensor operator, intelligence operator and flight engineer, each of whom has a workstation with two or more screens to view the information required for their specific task. A basic analysis of the imagery after the mission takes about five minutes, but a comprehensive analysis that identifies and catalogs everything that has been gathered from video and other sensors can take several days.

Defense Systems Update

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