MQ-9 Reaper 578-34
The unanimous choice for Top Drone Of 2013 had another strong showing, but was unable to recreate the incredible run that set it apart from the pack last year, including its record-breaking 79 percent accuracy rate. However, there’s no doubt that 578-34 remains one of Operation Enduring Freedom’s best UAVs.
MQ-1 Predator 158-09
This super-hot drone, which famously burst onto the scene last year at an Afghan tribal wedding, was back with a vengeance in 2014, racking up over a dozen combatant kills and only a single-digit civilian casualty count in July.
MQ-1 Predator 142-92
Many predicted the legendary 6-year-old 142-92 would be decommissioned in 2014, but the UAV proved to all the doubters that it can still do the job after using Hellfire missiles to destroy a line of trucks as well as the suspected neighborhood of a high-ranking Taliban insurgent.
MQ-1C Gray Eagle 771-59
After a rather unremarkable early few months of the year, 771-59 really came into its own in April and never looked back, killing at least two top ISIS officials and an undisclosed number of civilians. Talk about finishing the year strong!
RQ-4B Global Hawk 49
While 49 didn’t receive as many plaudits or the same level of attention as its missile-equipped fleet-mates, it nevertheless had a banner year secretly gathering footage over Syria in November that will soon be used to justify a highly politicized increase in American military activities—paving the way for more armed UAVs in the region! 49 is a truly selfless unsung hero of this year’s drone fleet.
MQ-9 Reaper 323-14
323-14 is a drone that the surviving family members of a suspected Yemeni arms trader, his wife, four kids, and two locals who happened to be passing by won’t soon forget!
Unnamed Lockheed Martin Weapons Project
Though not officially acknowledged by Pentagon sources as actually existing, this advanced drone is rumored to have a vastly increased weapons payload and cutting-edge stealth technology. This is definitely a drone that you—and thousands of Middle Eastern civilians—will want to look out for next year!