The versatility of the MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and Special Operations Forces illustrates the importance of developing and maintaining the collective knowledge, the technological and doctrinal adaptability in the GWOT environment. The "M" is the Department of Defense designation for multi-role and "Q" means that the unmanned aircraft system. The "1" refers to the aircraft being the first in a series of purpose-built aircraft systems remotely.
The Predator system was designed in response to a request from the Department of Defense to provide persistent intelligence information, surveillance and reconnaissance combatants. In April 1996, 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.
The MQ-1 Predator is a medium altitude, long endurance, remotely piloted aircraft. The primary mission of the MQ-1 is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets. When the MQ-1 is not actively pursuing its primary mission, which acts as the air component of Joint Forces Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of Joint Forces commander.