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MQ-9 Reaper

Unmanned combat aerial vehicle

MQ-9 Reaper

The MQ-9 Reaper is a further development of the MQ-1 Predator drone

 
 
Entered service 2007
Crew (in ground station) 2
Dimensions and weight
Length 11 m
Wing span 20 m
Height 3.81 m
Weight (empty) 2.45 t
Weight (maximum take off) 5.25 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop
Engine power 900 hp
Maximum speed 482 km/h
Cruising speed 313 km/h
Service ceiling 15.24 km
Operational altitude 7.5 km
Range 1 852 km
Endurance (fully loaded) 14 hours
Armament
Missiles 4 x AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, or 4 x Brimstone air-to-surface missiles
Bombs 2 x 230 kg GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, or 2 x 230 kg GBU-38 JDAMs

 

   Designed to help the United States in its counter-insurgency operations in the ongoing War on Terrorism, the MQ-9 Reaper is a further development of the MQ-1 Predator drone that had been in service long before the War on Terrorism had officially begun. The MQ-9 Reaper takes the reconnaissance and surveillance roles of the MQ-1 and combines it with a much more powerful engine and a more load-bearing wing design for weapons to effectively make it one of the first true hunter-killer drones.

   Like most modern UAVs, the MQ-9 has an exceptionally long endurance rate for an aircraft of its size of 14 hours. This is essential however for it to fully utilize its surveillance role in combat and allows the aircraft to loiter over a target long enough for it to be identified as a civilian or a hostile. The MQ-9 may also soon gain the role of utilizing air-to-air weapons, but due to its structure not being designed for dogfighting, this may be limited purely to self-defense. Surveillance is conducted through the use of AN/APY-8 Lynx II Radar and an AN/DAS-1 MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System.

   The aircraft first flew in prototype form on 2nd of February, 2001 and entered service about 6 years later with the U.S. Air Force on 1st May 2007. Since it was introduced, the MQ-9 has seen service in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, and Mali as of 2015. Besides surveillance, the Reaper is known to AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) in its role as a hunter-killer UCAV. There are also plans to equip the Reaper with AIM-92 Stinger missiles in order to defend itself in an air-to-air role. Nations currently utilizing the MQ-9 Reaper include the United States, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

 

Steven Downs

   Article by STEVEN DOWNS

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Video of the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat aerial vehicle

 
MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 Reaper

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