أقسام الوصول السريع (مربع البحث)

General Atomics Aeronautical MQ-9 Reaper / Predator B ...the deadly spy

When we talk about the MQ-9 Reaper drone, we are undoubtedly talking about one of the best drones in the world, since it first flew in 2001.

What are the tasks of the MQ-9 Reaper?:

MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan, Taken on 29 November 2008، Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt، U.S Air force, public domain.
MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan, Taken on 29 November 2008، Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt، U.S Air force, public domain.

Essentially, the MQ-9 Reaper is a reconnaissance and information gathering aircraft. It is a powerful flying spy. It can fly over enemy positions, photograph it, and transmit information at the same moment to its operators, enabling commanders in the field to make the appropriate decision.

But the MQ-9 Reaper's capabilities do not stop there, as it can also engage and destroy some types of specific targets.

So it is a (spy-killer), and in the military description it is considered a multi-mission aircraft, a description that applies to drones, as well as to manned aircraft such as the Russian MiG-29.

MQ-9 Reaper features:

The above was talk about MQ-9 Reaper missions.

To be able to carry out these missions efficiently, the MQ-9 Reaper is designed to carry several features and capabilities.

  • It can stay in the air for a long time.
  • It carries advanced sensors and monitoring devices and can work over long distances.
  • Equipped with high-end communication equipment.
  • It has an arsenal of precision weapons.
  • It is classified as an aircraft that flies at medium altitudes.
An MQ-9 Reaper taxis after a mission in Afghanistan, 1 October 2007, U.S. Air Force, public domain.
An MQ-9 Reaper taxis after a mission in Afghanistan, 1 October 2007, U.S. Air Force, public domain.

It's no surprise when we know who the maker of the MQ-9 Reaper is: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is one of the most important and best aircraft manufacturing companies in the world.

When the company set its sights on designing the MQ-9 Reaper, it was based on the years of experience it had gained with the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, which the Americans developed in the early 1990s.

The MQ-9 Reaper came to represent the successor to its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator, with a huge improvement in performance.

The matter in airplanes is similar to what happens in the automobile or smartphone industry. The Apple 5, for example, was a masterpiece of its time, but the Apple 14 offers new dimensions.

Technical specifications of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft:

As for armament, the MQ-9 Reaper can carry the famous AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

As well as the GBU-12 Paveway II bombs, which are precision laser-guided bombs with a range of up to 6 km.

It also has the ability to carry GBU-38 JDAM Propulsion bombs, which were previously unguided bombs, but Boeing provided them with advanced, low-cost guidance equipment to become smart bombs that hit their targets accurately.

The MQ-9 Reaper's engine is a TPE331-10GD turboprop engine, which gives it the ability to fly at 230 mph for a distance of up to 1,150 miles.

First MQ-9 Reaper makes its home on Nevada flightline، 13 March 2007, United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr, public domain.
First MQ-9 Reaper makes its home on Nevada flightline، 13 March 2007, United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr, public domain.

To operate the plane, it needs a crew of two people present at its station (a remote ground control station), one of whom is the pilot and the second is responsible for operating its sensors.

  • Spacing between wings: 66 feet = 20 metres
  • Length: 36 feet = 11 meters
  • Height: 11.8 feet = 3.6 meters
  • Maximum flight ceiling: 50,000 feet = 15,240 metres
  • Flight endurance: 27 hours
  • Speed: 276 miles = 444 km/h

These things make the MQ-9 Reaper one of the most expensive drones in the world at a price of nearly 30 million US dollars.

However, this did not prevent a poor group like the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen from shooting down the MQ-9 Reaper.

Also, Russian pilots used a unique method to shoot down the MQ-9 Reaper in March 2023, when a pair of Russian fighters dumped their fuel on it heavily, causing it to fall into the waters of the Black Sea.

The main users currently of the aircraft are the US Army in its various branches, and the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom.

The MQ-9 Reaper has also provided its services to the Israeli army, as it has participated in the missions of collecting information about the hiding places of Israeli detainees in the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023, but - as long as it did not reveal this - it is considered to have failed in its mission.

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