This document presents an overview of the Predator UAV system. The Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE) UAV, also known as the Predator, was developed as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) from January 1994 to June 1996. This guide is not, repeat not, to be viewed as doctrinal guidance to any user or customer. The intent is to provide planners, decision makers, operators, and other support personnel a ready reference for planning and executing Predator operations. This guide presents observations drawn from the experiences of participants and published lessons learned in several Predator operations at the Theater, Joint Task Force (JTF), and Naval Task Force levels.
During April and May 1995, Predator, as a proof of concept demonstration, participated in Roving Sands '95, an annual air defense exercise held in the southwestern United States. The success of the Predator during this exercise played a substantial role in the decision to deploy it to the European theater in the summer of 1995.
The first European deployment, Nomad Vigil, was in support of Joint Task Force Provide Promise (JTF PP) with the Predator based in Gjader, Albania. Tasking was provided by the JTF PP headquarters through the Southern Region Joint Operations Intelligence Center (SR JOIC) in Naples, Italy. The required airspace coordination was performed at the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Vicenza, Italy. The Predator deployment took place from July through November, 1995.
Based upon demonstrated success in Roving Sands '95 and Nomad Vigil, in November 1995 U.S Atlantic Command (USACOM) promulgated a message declaring the military utility of the Predator and recommending production and procurement.
The second European deployment, Nomad Endeavor, was in support of Operation Joint Endeavor with the Predator based in Taszar, Hungary. Tasking was provided by a forward element of U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) through the US National Intelligence Cell (USNIC) at Vicenza, Italy. The operational control of the Predator remained with USEUCOM, but tactical control was exercised by the NATO CAOC. The deployment started in March, 1996.
Predator also demonstrated support to naval forces on two separate occasions. The first naval exercise was in November and December, 1995 when Predator provided video imagery to a carrier battle group off the coast of southern California. In June 1996, Predator supported the insertion of a SEAL team into a "hostile" environment on San Clemente Island. This particular demonstration transferred control of the Predator from its land base to a submarine that was underway at periscope depth. Video imagery was provided to the SEAL team immediately prior to and insertion. The near-real-time (NRT) video allowed the embarked SEAL team commander to monitor the progress of the mission.
This guide is designed to assist personnel who may not have prior UAV knowledge, background, or training but who may be assigned at units or commands where UAVs are tasked and airspace is coordinated. It is intended that as the Predator system matures, the contents of this guide would be incorporated in user manuals, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and appropriate checklists at the discretion of the sponsoring service.