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How is it possible for military drones to fly for many hours without refueling?

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This is a Predator drone, MQ-1. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.

It weighs 500kg empty, has a 105 horsepower rotax engine, 55 feet wingspan and a top speed of 270 kph. Its longest recorded flight was 40 hours 5 minutes, probably by flying very slow and using its big wings to assist like a glider would. Fully loaded with weapons this drone only has a range of 1200km though. So in recon mode it has a camera and nothing else, and can fly for many hours. In attack mode with a few heavy hellfires it would be done after 6 hours. It's so small it fits in a transport box. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. This is an F-15E. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. It has a top speed of close to 3000 kph. 10x more than a Predator. It also has a ferry range of 4800km, or fully loaded 1900km. That's more than a Predator. And an F-15 could fly just as slow as a Predator, it could handle 270 kph without falling from the sky. That would give it a 7 hour flight time.

So an F-15E could fly longer than a Predator. But it doesn't need to. It has a different role. It comes in fast, unloads hell on whatever needs killing that day, and leaves again. A Predator comes in slow to not be detected and shot down, and usually kills one specific target, maybe a single person or one vehicle. That's it.

But then there's the Global Hawk drone. It's called that for a reason. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.

It's basically a massive cruise missile. It has a range of 22,750 km. Half the world. And with a cruising speed of 500kph it can stay in the air for nearly 2 days. It does recon. It doesn't carry weapons.

So it really depends on what you're looking at. An F-15E has longer range than a small drone that literally fits in a box, while a drone nearly the same size can go halfway around the world.

You build things for a special purpose. Sometimes the purpose is to fly for days to take photos, other times it's to kill things with heavy weapons.

Source: opera.com
The views expressed in this article are the writer's, they do not reflect the views of Opera News. Read more>>
Top Comments
SharonJohnstone · 07/16/2020
Who manufacture this Global Hawk which has got an amazing range of plus minus 22 000km 2 days in the air no refuelling?????
SharonJohnstone · 08/9/2020
Chinese will copycat as usual but this time around with America getting tough on China it's not going to be easy to steal American technology anymore,they used their Chinese students scattered all over American universities to steal and hack what ever they find useful and pass it home
JackBrown_01 · 07/3/2020
different title different body.

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