UAV Squadron to Hit the Skies

By Tish Drake | July 16, 2007
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Aviation’s first UAV attack squadron is expected take to the skies in the Afghanistan war, according to the Associated Press. According to the article, the MQ-9 Reaper's first combat deployment in Afghanistan, is expected "soon," says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? "We're still working that," Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview with the AP. Senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq sometime between this fall and next spring, according to the report. According to the U.S. Air Force, the MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft system. The two missions of the MQ-9 is as a “persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets in support of joint force commander objectives” and “to act as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, employing sensors to provide real-time data to commanders and intelligence specialists at all levels.” More powerful than the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-9 is designed to go after time-sensitive targets and can destroy or disable them with gravity bombs. The MQ-9 system has a sensor suite for targeting. Imagery is provided by an infrared sensor, a color/monochrome daylight TV and an image-intensified TV. The video from the sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused with the IR sensor video. The laser rangefinder/designator provides the capability to designate targets for laser-guided munitions. Synthetic aperture radar will enable Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The aircraft is also equipped with a color nose camera, generally used by the pilot for flight control. For related news

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