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SWJED
08-28-2007, 01:48 PM
28 August USA Today - Faster, deadlier pilotless plane bound for Afghanistan (http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070828/1a_bottomstrip28_dom.art.htm) by Tom Vanden Brook.


The Air Force this fall will deploy a new generation of pilotless airplane with the bombing power of an F-16 to help stop the stubborn Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

The Reaper is an upgraded version of the Predator, which has become one of the military's most sought-after planes since it first appeared in Afghanistan in 2001. The Reaper can fly three times as fast as a Predator and carry eight times more weaponry, such as Hellfire missiles, the Air Force said.

The Reaper's greater range and speed make it better suited than the<i Predator to Afghanistan with its vast, rugged terrain. The Reaper will also be deployed to Iraq. Its speed and arms will let it track and kill moving targets able to elude a Predator, said Brig. Gen. James Poss, director of intelligence for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Air Force officials cite the June 2006 killing of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was tracked by a Predator but ultimately killed by bombs dropped by an F-16. The Reaper "is ideal for that type of target," said Lt. Col. Gregory Christ, director of staff at Creech...

SWJED
08-28-2007, 01:52 PM
http://www.defense-update.com/images/MQ9.jpg

http://www.defense-update.com/images/predatorB.jpg

MQ-9 Reaper
Predator-B Hunter-Killer UAV
General Atomics / USA

Predator B currently in final development and testing, will overcome most of the difficulties encountered with the Predator. With an operational ceiling of 50,000ft, and higher cruising speed, this UAV will be able to cover a larger area, under all weather conditions. The aircraft is powered by a single Honeywell TP331-10 engine, producing 950 shp, provides a maximum airspeed of 260 kts and a cruise speed for maximum endurance of 150-170 kts.

Capable of carrying maximum internal payload of 800 lbs, it will carry more advanced sensors at weight almost twice as the MQ-1. Furthermore, The Reaper can carry much more external stores, up to 3,000 pounds total 1,500 on each of its two inboard weapons stations, or 500-600 lb. on the two middle stations and 150-200 lbs. on the outboard stations. In total, the aircraft can carry up to 14 Hellfire missiles, compared with two carried on the Predator. The Reaper can stay airborne for up to 14 hours fully loaded.