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Reaper drone
Predator will be replaced with Reaper

The first widely adopted drone aircraft for the U.S. Air Force was the Predator. The aircraft originally designed to be a pure reconnaissance vehicle that could fly and loiter in an area for up to 20 hours at altitudes up to 25,000 feet without putting a pilot in harm's way.

Eventually the military got the idea to arm the Predator with Hellfire missiles so that the aircraft could engage targets. The Predator has been a major success for the Air Force, however, the sun is setting on the drone. The Air Force has purchased its final batch of 268 Predators from General Atomics with the last one expected to be delivered by February 2011 reports

As the Predator drones are removed from service for various reasons, they will be replaced with a new and more capable drone aircraft called the Reaper. The Reaper is a much more capable drone aircraft and was designed for the start to be able to perform in both surveillance and attack roles.

The Reaper is able to fly at around 50,000 feet and flies twice as fast as the Predator with a maximum speed of 260 knots and a cruise speed of 150 to 170 knots. Perhaps the biggest improvement for the Reaper is in its ability to carry a variety of weapons. The Reaper will be able to carry the Hellfire AGM-114 missile and GBU-12/GBU-38 precision bombs. The Predator was only capable of carrying the Hellfire missile. The Reaper also has more electrical power onboard allowing the aircraft to have more sophisticated sensors.

The Air Force already owns 57 Reaper drones and wants another 272 of them. How fast the additional Reapers come into the fold will depend on budgets approved by Congress.

The Air Force is also already looking towards the replacement of the Reaper with a faster aircraft called the Avenger. The Avenger is jet-powered allowing it to be much faster than the Reaper.

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For the MW2 fans
By Spookster on 12/15/2010 11:08:38 AM , Rating: 5
Friendly predator inbound...

RE: For the MW2 fans
By MrTeal on 12/15/2010 11:10:05 AM , Rating: 5
Damn I'm old, I saw the Avenger and thought it's time to load up and head to Mars.

RE: For the MW2 fans
By cjohnson2136 on 12/15/2010 11:09:52 AM , Rating: 2
Nice i would rate you up if i could

By ekv on 12/15/2010 4:35:58 PM , Rating: 4
Shane McGlaun, for future reference, please post an aircrafts designation along with the name. E.g. Reaper is more specifically known as "General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper". This allows readers to more readily look up further information on the topic, if they are so inclined.


RE: Reaper
By Fritzr on 12/16/2010 7:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually a search for something like "military drone reaper" is more likely to pick up news reports that do not use the formal designation. This will be virtually all news and blog stories.

There will be enough hits giving the formal designation to locate the industry sites that don't call it "the US military's new drone 'The Reaper'"

RE: Reaper
By ekv on 12/24/2010 3:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. Thanks. It was merely a technical point I wanted to cross-check ... and the designation wasn't there, although the Hellfire and precision bomb designations were. It's something simple and adds to the articles utility.

By Solandri on 12/15/2010 1:36:47 PM , Rating: 4
How long til I can pick up one of these puppies at the Army Surplus store?

RE: So....
By JakLee on 12/15/2010 5:04:03 PM , Rating: 3
Is it wrong to use a surplus store predator to "buzz" those civil war reinactment fellows?

The problem with debt is ...
By drycrust3 on 12/15/2010 3:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
The Air Force already owns 57 Reaper drones and wants another 272 of them. How fast the additional Reapers come into the fold will depend on budgets approved by Congress.

The problem with debt is that it wants to take the first bite of the cake, and if we don't give it first bite then it comes back to haunt us by taking away our financial freedom and independence to force us to pay with the end result it costs more than if we do service that debt.

RE: The problem with debt is ...
By SlyNine on 12/16/2010 12:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't you're bank account we're talking about debt works different when you're talking about nations.

Besides what do the other guys do when they call to collect the USA says F&%* you , click. * just sarcasm guys it doesn't work like THAT either.

How Long?
By Skywalker123 on 12/15/2010 10:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
How many more models till we get to SKYNET and it becomes self-aware?

some thoughts...
By inperfectdarkness on 12/16/2010 5:33:08 PM , Rating: 1
gbu39's will increase payload capacity even higher on these. i'd still like to see an improved version armed to the teeth with nothing but hydras.

now maybe we can turn our UAS development $$$ into replacing the rq-4 global hawk. make it 3-4x as big and we could probably replace the rq-4 and the e-8c with the same platform.

Do these things still crash?
By knightmike on 12/17/2010 7:22:05 AM , Rating: 1
I read a while back that these things were crashing because they lost their link while maneuvering. I suggested it then and I'll suggest it now. Program them to RTB if they lose their link.

Work instead of news
By cjohnson2136 on 12/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Work instead of news
By cjohnson2136 on 12/16/2010 3:26:22 PM , Rating: 1
onbvious someone didnt like my joke about the news sites being blocked oh well i thought it was funny

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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