MQ-9 Reaper: The Most Feared U.S. Air Force Drone in Action
Manufacturer: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Service: USAF Armament: Combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 JDAM Propulsion: Honeywell TPE331-10GD turboprop engine Speed: 230 mph Range: 1,150 miles Crew: Two (pilot and sensor operator)
The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the U.S. Air Force. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons -- it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.
Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-laser, convoy/raid overwatch, route clearance, target development, and terminal air guidance.
The Reaper is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. A fully operational system consists of several sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft, ground control station, Predator Primary Satellite Link, and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions.
The basic crew consists of a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission, and enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons as well as a mission coordinator, when required. To meet combatant commanders' requirements, the Reaper delivers tailored capabilities using mission kits containing various weapons and sensor payload combinations.
The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting. The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser designator, and laser illuminator. The full-motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused.
The unit also incorporates a laser range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9 can also employ four laser-guided missiles, Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, which possess highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities.
Video by Staff Sgt. Erin Mills, Senior Airman Izabella Workman, Airman 1st Class Kristin Weathersby, Senior Airman Timothy Kirchner
#usmilitarynews #americanpatriot #usmilitary