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From Predator to Reaper

An improvement on the MQ-1 Predator drone, the MQ-9 Reaper is a UAV that became operational in 2007. Used primarily by the USAF and the CIA, the Reaper has become a very useful and respected battlefield weapon.

Improvements... (Defense-Update)

The Reaper can fly at a higher altitude (50 000 ft.) with higher speeds (260 knots) and for a longer time (14 hours fully loaded). It also has a significantly greater payload than the Predator. In internal stores, the Reaper can carry up to 800 pounds, almost twice the Predator. In external stores, the Reaper can carry up to 3000 pounds! This means that the Reaper is able to carry up to 14 Hellfire missiles, compared to the maximum 2 of the Predator.

Also, the avionics on the MQ-9 is greatly improved.

Armaments...

The Reaper can carry an assortment of different missiles and bombs. Right now, it is able to operate with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles air-to-ground missiles, GBU-12 Pathway II laser-guided bombs, and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs. Testing underway to include the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile into the arsenal.

Size and Costs...

The Reaper is about twice the size of the Predator and is about the same size as the A-10 Thunderbolt (Length: 36 ft. Height: 12.5 ft. Wingspan: 66ft.).

A fully equipped Reaper can cost up US $10.5 million, more than twice the costs of a Predator (about US $4.5 million).

Other Uses...

The Reaper is also used by Homeland Security for border patrol and NASA as an information gathering platform.

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