Palmdale, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. (GA-ASI), the maker of the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) successfully completed the first of several flight tests of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, that allows a UAV to see and avoid other aircraft in flight.
There was once a great Far Side cartoon
that had ‘hopeful parents’ imagining a newspaper full of Help Wanted ads for skilled video game players. Well, it looks like Gary Larson might have been more prescient than he imagined. The US Air Force has just revealed that, this year, it will train more ‘pilots’ to remotely operate unmanned aircraft than pilots to fly fighters and bombers.
The MQ-9 Reaper
, a hunter-killer UAV with long loitering capability, has completed its first operational mission in Iraq. The craft has been used in Afghanistan
since 2007, clocking 3,800 hours and attacking 16 targets with 500-pound bombs and Hellfire missiles.
November 12, 2007 Britain's most sophisticated unmanned surveillance system, the Reaper
UAV, has been deployed into active service in Afghanistan.
August 31, 2007 The US Airforce has announced the deployment of a new squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Capable of carrying a payload of 3,750 pounds, the jet-fighter sized MQ-9 Reaper can fly at 300mph, reach 50,000 feet and stay airborne for 14 hours at a time. The "hunter-killer" UAV also incorporates Infrared, laser and radar targeting and is capable of deploying precision guided weapons.
September 14, 2006 The Air Force
has announced "Reaper" has been chosen as the name for the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle, the Air Force's first hunter-killer UAV. Formerly known as the Predator B, the MQ-9 is still in final development but is larger and much more powerful than the MQ-1 Predator and is designed to go after time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, and should the Reaper ever be assigned your case, you are indeed very likely to become toast. Compared to the current MQ-1, which could carry two Hellfire missiles and is credited with at least one top 10 targets in Iraq, the Reaper is much more capable, and can carry 14 Hellfire II anti-armour missiles. The MQ-9 can also deploy precision guided weapons such as the GBU-12 and 500lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). Similarly, the Reaper can carry an internal sensor payload more than twice that of MQ-1, now has an operational ceiling of 50,000 ft and can cruise above clouds at 260 knots for 14 hours at a time. In announcing the new moniker, Gen. T. Michael Moseley stressed that the key advantage of the UAV is not keeping pilots out of harm's way, but the persistence UAVs can inherently provide.