MQ-9 Reaper: Unfettered for Export
August 4/22: Refueling By MV-22 Working together with the US Marine Corps, the 163rd Attack Wing has proven that the MQ-9 can be refueled on the ground while connected to an MV-22. The ground-breaking test was carried out in partnership with VMM-764 during Integrated Training Exercise 4-22 at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twenty-nine Palms last month. The refueling exercise was to help the Marines acquire tactics, techniques, and procedures to operate the MQ-9 in the future. The USMC has placed orders for the MQ-9.
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The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some have called it the first fielded Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
The Reaper UCAV will play a significant role in the future USAF, even though its capability set makes the MQ-9 considerably more expensive than MQ-1 Predators. Given these high-end capabilities and expenses, one may not have expected the MQ-9 to enjoy better export success than its famous cousin. Nevertheless, that’s what appears to be happening. MQ-9 operators currently include the USA and Britain, who use it in hunter-killer mode, and Italy. Several other countries are expressing interest, and the steady addition of new payloads are expanding the Reaper’s advantage over competitors…
The MQ-9 Reaper, and its Little Brothers
Competitors & Prospects
Future Planning & Developments
Contracts & Key Events, 2005 SDD – Present
FY 2014 – 2022
FY 2005 – 2007
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: The Reaper Family
Background: Reaper Ancillaries
News & Views
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