WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 10 Sept. 2010. The U.S. Air Force is buying six more MQ-9 Reaper ground-attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under terms of a $38.3 million contract awarded Thursday to manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, Calif. Awarding the contract were officials of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer UAV, which is flying in combat operations in Afghanistan, is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance UAV designed for close air support, air interdiction, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The Reaper close-air-support UAV carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS-B) suite of targeting sensors that includes infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, an image-intensified TV camera, a laser designator, and a laser illuminator. The UAV also has laser rangefinder/designator to illuminate targets for laser-guided missiles and bombs.
The Reaper is also has a synthetic aperture radar to enable GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9B can also employ four laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire anti-armor and anti-personnel missiles.
The Reaper UAV, which is a weaponized version of the General Atomics Predator UAV, is 36 feet long, 12.5 feet high, and has a 66-foot wingspan. It can carry 3,750 pounds of weapons and sensors, can fly as high as 50,000 feet, and has a range of 1,000 nautical miles.
The MQ-9 is operated by the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and the 29th Attack Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. For more information contact the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center online at www.wpafb.af.mil/asc.