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RQ-2 Pioneer

The RQ-2 Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has served with US Navy, US Marine, and US Army units, deploying aboard ship and ashore since 1986. Initially deployed aboard battleships to provide gunnery spotting, its mission evolved into reconnaissance and surveillance, primarily for amphibious forces. Launched by rocket assist (shipboard), by catapult, or from a runway, it recovers into a net (shipboard) or with arresting gear after flying up to 4 hours with a 75-pound payload. It flies with a gimbaled EO/IR sensor, relaying analog video in real time via a C-band line-of-sight (LOS) data link. Since 1991, Pioneer has flown reconnaissance missions during the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, and Kosovo conflicts. In 2000, the Navy operated three Pioneer systems (one for training) and the Marines two, each with five aircraft. Pioneer was replaced by the Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical UAV (VTUAV).

The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance; "Q" means unmanned aircraft system. The "2" refers to it being the second of a series of purpose-built unmanned reconnaissance aircraft systems. See also RQ-1 Predator, RQ-3 Dark Star, RQ-4 Global Hawk, RQ-5 Hunter, RQ-6 Outrider, and RQ-7 Shadow.

General Characteristics

  • Primary Function: gunnery spotting, reconnaissance and surveillance for amphibious forces
  • Contractor: Pioneer UAVs, Incorporated
  • Power Plant:
  • Length: 4.3 meters (14 feet)
  • Height:
  • Weight: 205 kilograms (452 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 5.2 meters (17 feet)
  • Speed:
  • Range: four hours at 180 kilometers (100 nautical miles)
  • Ceiling: 4600 meters (15,000 feet)
  • Fuel Capacity:
  • Payload:
  • System Cost:
  • Inventory:



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