The RQ-2 Pioneer family of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was one of the first combat UAVs deployed by the U.S. military. It started as an artillery tool on surface naval warships, and eventually it was used entirely for aerial observation of land battlefields.
While not as flashy or powerful as the new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Pioneer is exactly that, a groundbreaking flying vehicle that underpins the entire line of drones currently in service with the U.S. military.
The design of the RQ-2 yielded an aircraft-like aerodynamic fuselage with a single-saxophone 2-stroke, 2-cylinder, 26-horsepower gasoline piston engine in the front and rear. The wings are mounted high in the rear of the fuselage, have straight sides, and are supported by struts below.
The twin booms extend aft and are connected by a horizontal plane to two vertical fins, which round out the fins. The landing gear is statically deployed.
Pioneer evolved from a joint agreement between Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and AAI Corporation. Designed from the outset to perform a variety of unarmed battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the system can be launched from land (by catapult or airstrip) or sea (by catapult or missile support) and returned to the ship by net or arresting hook . Flight time varies with total payload weight, but can reach several hours. The advantage of the Pioneer system is its ability to relay real-time information via analog video over a line-of-sight (LOS) data link.
The RQ-2 Pioneer system served with the combat branches of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Navy during the 1991 Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. It is also used by forces sponsored by Israel and Singapore.
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
13. 12 feet (4 m)
17.06 ft (5.2 m)
3. 28 feet (1 m)
124 mph (200 km/h; 108 knots)
15,092 ft (4,600 m; 2.86 mi)
115 miles (185 km; 100 nautical miles)
RQ-2 - Base Series Name