Did I mention that I am interested in reading and writing about drones around the world including their manufaturers, specifications and capabilities. Bear with me on this journey as I stumble around the internet and gather the significant information and news and bring it to your device. On this journey, today I am writing about MQ-9A Reaper drone. If you want to know basics about the drone and its various capabilities then please keep reading.
What is MQ-9A Reaper Drone?
MQ-9A Reaper Drone is a remotely piloted aircraft which is a medium-altitude and long endurance (MALE) uav. It is operated by three air force crew members from a ground control station. The word 9 shows that it is the 9th system to be produced in US Air Force’s series of UAVs.
What is the MQ 9 Reaper used for?
The General Atomics MQ 9 unmanned aerial vehicle is designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), and attack missions. It is
Who makes MQ 9A?
Where is MQ-9A based in UK?
Who is flying MQ 9A Reaper in UK?
How much does a Reaper Cost?
MQ 9A Reaper Drone Specifications
|Powerplant||one 900shp Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop|
|Wingspan||69ft 3½in (21.12m)|
|Maximum take-off weight||10,500lb (4,760kg)|
|Maximum speed||250kt (463km/h)|
|Endurance (clean)||20 hours|
|Endurance (with weapons)||more than 12 hours|
|Service ceiling (clean)||more than 50,000ft|
|Service ceiling (with weapons)||more than 30,000ft|
|Armament||two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles|
What are deadly capabilities of MQ 9A Drone?
Reaper crew comprises of a pilot, mission intelligence co-ordinator and a sensor operator, altogether they fly Reaper from a remote Ground Control Station (GCS). There are two teams responsible for its ground operations one is theatre launch team and other is recovery team. Whereas, the operational crew is responsible for controlling the aircraft, its sensors and weapons systems. This particular team uses an advanced and secure satellite communication systems which provides data link capability from stations in the UK and US.
How long can a Reaper stay in the air?
What kind of weapons can MQ 9A carry?
What is Ground Station like?
The UAV ground station is built in a 30ft single trailer. The trailer consists of a pilot and payload operator consoles and three Boeing data exploitation and mission planning consoles. Moreover, the trailer also has two synthetic aperture radar workstations together with satellite. The trailer also contains line-of-sight ground data terminals.
This ground station can send visual data to the operational users or to the Trojan Spirit data distribution system via a landline. The Trojan Spirit data distribution system is equipped with a 5.5m dish for Ku-band ground data terminal whereas data dissemination is handled by a 2.4m dish.
What are operations of MQ 9A?
In March 2005, US Air Force awarded a contract for the system design and development (SDD) of MQ-9 Reaper. USAF ordered 21 Reapers and initially received 8. In March 2007, the USAF formed first MQ9A squadron by the name of 42nd attack squadron which was based at Creech AFB in Nevada. USAF first deployed this drone to Afghanistan in October for precision airstrikes. It flew its first operational mission in July 2008 in Iraq.
Who are the Contractors for this drone?
It is a common knowledge that General Atomics is the prime contractor of the predator UAV. If we talk about the subcontractors of this project, then Versatron / Wescam is responsible for the electro-optical Skyball Gimbal, Northrop Grumman provides the synthetic aperture radar, Boeing for the intelligence workstation & mission planning system and L3 Communication for the wide band satellite communications link.
Current situation of Foreign Military sale of Reapers:
The UK requested the foreign military sale of two MQ-9 Reaper systems in 2006. These reapers were delivered to RAF in mid 2007 hence RAF deployed the reaper in Afghanistan in November 2007. Additional ten reapers were requested by Uk in January 2008. Whereas, Italy requested the foreign military sale of four reapers with three ground stations in August 2008.
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Oh and one more thing, if you want to buy and fly one of your very own small drones then read 3 Best Drones to buy in 2020!