The versatility of both the MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and Special Operations Forces illustrates the importance of developing and maintaining collective knowledge, technological relevance, and doctrinal adaptability in an ever-changing GWOT environment. The “M” is the Department of Defense designation for multi-role and “Q” means unmanned aircraft system. The “1” refers to the aircraft being the first of a series of purpose-built remotely piloted aircraft systems.
The Predator system was designed in response to a Department of Defense requirement to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to the warfighter. In April 1996, the secretary of defense selected the U.S. Air Force as the operating service for the RQ-1 Predator system. A change in designation from “RQ-1” to “MQ-1” occurred in 2002 with the addition of the armed reconnaissance role.