The RQ-2A Pioneer was developed in the 1980's as an artillery spotter for battleships. Its role has expanded into reconnaissance for the Navy, Marines, and Army.
It has a wingspan of 16.9 feet, max speed of 110 knots, and a max weight of 452 lbs. It uses a 2 cylinder 2 stroke engine. It has a 15,000 foot ceiling and can stay in the air for 5 hours.
175 RQ-2s were delivered, beginning in 1986. In 2007 the RQ-2s were retired by the Navy and replaced with the RQ-7 Shadow.
In Desert Storm, the USS Missouri, using her Pioneer to spot 16 inch gunfire, devastated the defenses of Faylaka Island off the coast near Kuwait City. Shortly thereafter, while still over the horizon and invisible to the defenders, the USS Wisconsin sent her Pioneer over the island at low altitude. When the UAV came over the island, the defenders heard the obnoxious sound of the two-cycle engine since the air vehicle was intentionally flown low to let the Iraqis know that they were being targeted. Recognizing that with the "vulture" overhead, there would soon be more of those 2,000-pound naval gunfire rounds landing on their positions with the same accuracy, the Iraqis made the right choice and, using handkerchiefs, undershirts, and bedsheets, they signaled their desire to surrender. Imagine the consternation of the Pioneer aircrew who called the commanding officer of Wisconsin and asked plaintively, "Sir, they want to surrender, what should I do with them?"