Air Force orders 36 MQ-9 Reaper UAV attack drones from General Atomics

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at General Atomics in Poway, Calif., will provide the U.S. Air Force with 36 new MQ-9 Reaper attack drones under terms of a $400 million contract.

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at General Atomics in Poway, Calif., will provide the U.S. Air Force with 36 new MQ-9 Reaper attack drones under terms of a $400 million contract. The armed Reaper UAVs are variations of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator UAV. The latest version of the Reaper - the MQ-9 Block 5 - is designed for surveillance and attack missions using a suite of airborne sensors and the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missile. General Atomics refers to the Reaper Block 5 as the Predator B, which has been in production since 2013. Users are the U.S. Air Force and the British Royal Air Force. Other MQ-9 Reaper users are France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Spain. Compared to the MQ-9 Reaper Block 1 models, the Reaper Block 5 has increased electrical power, secure communications, auto land, increased gross takeoff weight, weapons growth, and streamlined payload integration capabilities.

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