Air Force orders 24 MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer UAVs in $148.3 million contract award

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 3 Feb. 2011. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, Calif., will provide the U.S. Air Force with 24 MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer UAVs under terms of a $148.3 million contract awarded Wednesday from the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 3 Feb. 2011.Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, Calif., will provide the U.S. Air Force with 24 MQ-9 Reaperhunter-killer UAVs under terms of a $148.3 million contract awarded Wednesday from the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude UAV primarily for reconnaissance and surveillance, but which also can carry the GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb, the AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missile, air-to-air missiles, as well as the GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).The MQ-9 is a larger and more capable version of the MQ-1 Predator UAV, which can fly pre-programmed routes, and typically receives direction from human controllers -- particularly where launching weapons are concerned.The reaper uses several kinds of sensors, including a thermal camera, and has six stores pylons that can carry a maximum of 4,600 pounds of weapons and external fuel tanks. The aircraft can fly missions from about 15 hours to nearly two days.

The MQ-9 system includes aircraft, ground control station, communications equipment, spare parts, and crew, which consists of maintenance personnel, pilot, and sensor operator. Among its sensors is the Raytheon AN/AAS-52 multi-spectral targeting sensor suite with color/monochrome daylight TV, infrared sensor, and image-intensified TV with laser rangefinder and target designator. The Reaper's synthetic aperture radar helps with JDAM targeting, and can detect and track moving targets on the ground.

For more information contact General Atomics Aeronautical Systems online at www.ga-asi.com, or the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/asc.

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