The Air Force appears to be in love with the Reaper Drone
Wikipedia has the following information on the Reaper Drone:
“The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (formerly named Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force. UAVs are also commonly referred to as drones by the media. The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the U.S. Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.
The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator’s 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The power increase allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at almost three times the speed of the MQ-1. The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS), including weapons employment.”
Military and Aerospace Electronics is reporting that the Air Force purchased 8 more reaper drone:
“U.S. Air Force unmanned systems experts are ordering eight MQ-9 Reaper Block 5attack drones from manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. in Poway, Calif.
Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $72.1 million order with General Atomics Wednesday to provide the eight additional Reaper armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”
We will keep you up to date on this Reaper Drone purchase and related news.