The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF).
The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF to indicate their human ground controllers.
The MQ-9 is the first hunter-ĸιller UAV designed for long-endurance,high-altitude surveillance. In 2006, the then–Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley said:
“We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-ĸιller role with the Reaper.”
The mq-9 reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the u.s air force given its significant loiter time wide range sensors multi-mode communication suite and precision weαpσns provides a unique capability to perform strike coordination and reconnaissance against high value leeting And time sensitive targets.
The reaper is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system a fully operational system consists of several sensors sʟᴀsʜ ᴡᴇᴀᴘᴏɴ equipped aircraft ground control station predator primary satellite link and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions.
The basic crew consists of a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weαpσns as well as a mission coordinator when required to meet combatant commanders requirements the reaper delivers tailored capabilities using mission kits containing.
Various weαpσns and sensor payload combinations the mq-9 baseline system carries the multi-spectral targeting system which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting the mtsb integrates an infrared sensor.
Color slash monochrome daylight tv camera laser designator and laser illuminator the full motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused.
Color slash monochrome daylight tv camera laser designator and laser illuminator the full motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused the unit also incorporates a laser rangefinder slash designator which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions such as the guided bomb unit 12 paveway 2.
The reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future gbu-38 joint direct attack munitions targeting the mq-9 can also employ four laser-guided missiles air-to-ground missile 114 hellfire which possess highly accurate loco-lateral damage anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities the remotely piloted aircraft can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide the entire system can be transported in the c-130 hercules or larger aircraft.
The mq-9 aircraft operates from standard u.s airfields with clear line of sight to the ground data terminal antenna which provides line-of-sight communications for takeoff and landing the primary concept of operations remote split.
Operations employs a launch and recovery ground control station for takeoff and landing operations at the forward operating location while the crew based in continental united states executes command and control of the remainder of the mission via beyond line of sight links.
Remote split operations result in a smalle number of personnel deployed to a forward location consolidate control of the different flights in one location and as such simplify command and control functions as well as the logistical supply challenges for the weαpσn system the us air force proposed.
The mq-9 reaper system in response to the department of defense directive to support initiatives of overseas contingency operations it is larger and more powerful than the mq-1 predator and is designed to execute time-sensitive targets with persistence in precision and destroy or disable those targets the m is the dod designation for multirole and q means remotely piloted aircraft system the nine indicates it is the ninth in the series of remotely piloted aircraft systems.