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The Predator Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is based on a modified General Atomics Gnat 750 UAV. (The Gnat does not have the Ku Band satellite link). Predator system, designated RQ-1, was launched in January 1994 as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). The US Air Force received its first Predators in 1994, and deployed them for the first time over Bosnia between 1995-6. Since then, Predators were operated by both USAF and the Central Intelligence Agency, designated RQ-1A. Following successful integration of Hellfire missiles, an armed version of Predator was deployed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2002. Officially, the predator system was declared 'operational' only in 2004. Predator UAVs are currently operated by the US Air Force and Italian Air Force. By September 2005 the Predator fleet accumulated a total of 150,000 flight hours, almost two thirds in combat missions.
Every Predator system consists of four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a ground control station, a satellite communications terminal and 55 personnel. The Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is equipped with reconnaissance equipment and weapons to provide persistent Intelligence gathering, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Unlike many other UAVs, Predator has target engagement capability on-board, employing Hellfire missiles. The armed version is designated MQ-1.