Predator (2014) by Richard Whittle is an excellent look at the development of the aircraft and the deployment of the Predator UAV.
The book follows Abraham Karem’s work for the Israeli defense industry and his move to the United States and his work on making UAVs a reality and how his work became absorbed into General Atomics and their creation of UAVs that had a greater endurance than previous aircraft.
The book also mentions in passing the US Army’s Aquilla drone program and mostly answers the question of why UAVs disappeared after the Firebee drones used in Vietnam until the creation of the Predator and other UAVs in the in the mid 1990s. It becomes apparent that the electronics required to make a very useful drone like the Predator were not built until the 1990s and that the communications systems required did not exist until then.
The descriptions of how Predators were altered to use satellite communications after a hand off from pilots using C-band radio to take off is fascinating. Also the way that the Hellfire missile was bolted on to the Predator is a great story. It also becomes clear that only the US had all the requirements to build a drone like the Predator.
The book details how the Predator was used first in the former Yugoslavia and then in Afghanistan and how the footage and utility became such a highly prized asset.
The character descriptions in the book are well done, a number of the people involved are well enough described to become well liked.
It’s an excellent book about the creation of an exception aircraft. The author has done a great job in writing a very readable, highly enjoyable book.