The US Air Force has unveiled its advanced MQ-1 "Predator" drone at a Latvian airbase in Europe.
The drone was showcased at central Lielvarde airbase in the wake of rising tensions in the Baltic states Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia over Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict, various media reported today.
Latvian President Raimond Vejonis believes that the interoperability between NATO partners is essential. "It's a good example of smart defence that we can use equipment that we don't currently have," Vejonis said.
But the current deployment is due to last in just two weeks and involves familiarising intelligence staff from the Baltic states, Poland and Germany with the system.
The two pilotless drones -- which have a range of 2,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 135 miles per hour -- performed a series of flybys at the showcase also featuring A-10 "Warthog" ground-attack craft.
The two weapon free drones, delivered to Latvia, are capable of carrying Hellfire missiles and also can perform intelligence and reconnaissance missions.
Tuesday's showcase follows the first time visit of US F-22 Raptor fighters to Estonia.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is a a long-endurance, medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by General Atomics for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
RQ-1 Predator is unmanned aircraft system is basically used by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Surveillance imagery from synthetic aperture radar, video cameras and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) can be distributed in real-time both to the front line soldier and to the operational commander, or worldwide in real-time via satellite communication links.
The US Air Force received its first Predators in 1994, and deployed them for the first time over Bosnia between 1995-6. Then onwards, Predators were being operated by USAF as well as the Central Intelligence Agency.
The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Sept. 18 after completing its inaugural cross-country ferry flight, bringing the Navy closer to delivering this new capability to the fleet
In preparation for ship-board flights this spring, the Northrop Grumman-built MQ-8C Fire Scout will be tested for its ability to operate safely in the intense electromagnetic environment aboard U.S
Latvian parliament has adopted amendments to the Law on aviation allowing the commanders to order forced landing of an unmanned aerial vehicle in order to protect the nations military interests. The move comes after numerous reports of Russian drones near Baltic States' borders, as well as warships and submarines near Latvia's exclusive economic zone
The Latvian ministry of defense has bought Lockheed Martins three TPS-77 Multi-Role Radars (MRR) for use in air surveillance and to complement its radar assets. "Purchase of "TPS-77" MRRs will mean a huge investment in the strengthening of defense capabilities of National Armed Forces and gives us the chance to act accordingly to modern threats facing all NATO countries," said Minister of Defense of Latvia Raimonds Bergmanis in a statement Monday
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