HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

MQ-9 Reaper

The "Reaper" has been chosen as the name for the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle. (Courtesy photo)

The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. (Courtesy photo)

Aircrews perform a preflight check on an MQ-9 Reaper before it takes off on a mission in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. (Courtesy photo)

Aircrews perform a preflight check on an MQ-9 Reaper before it takes off on a mission in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. (Courtesy photo)

An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained at deployed locations, while being remotely operated by pilots and sensor operators at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.  (Courtesy photo)

An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained at deployed locations, while being remotely operated by pilots and sensor operators at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (Courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. Capable of striking enemy targets with on-board weapons, the Reaper has conducted close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. Capable of striking enemy targets with on-board weapons, the Reaper has conducted close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Courtesy photo)

An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, piloted by Col. Lex Turner flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)

An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, piloted by Col. Lex Turner flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)

Mission
The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against dynamic execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons -- it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets. 

Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives. 

Features
The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting. The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser range finder /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 range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. 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 , Air-to-Ground Missile (AGM)-114 Hellfire missiles, which provide highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities.

In its secondary role as an ISR asset, the MQ-9 is part of a system that support strike aircraft and ground commanders by acquiring and tracking dynamic targets or other useful intelligence.  It is also capable of supporting a wide ranger of operations such as coastal and border surveillance, weapons tracking, embargo enforcement, humanitarian/disaster assistance, support of peacekeeping and counter-narcotic operations.  Utilizing satellite communication links, the RPA can acquire and pass real-time imagery data to ground users around the clock, and beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS). 

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 PPSL provides over-the-horizon communications for the aircraft and sensors.

The primary concept of operations, remote split operations, employs a launch-and-recovery ground control station for take-off 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 smaller 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 weapons system.

Background
The U.S. 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 and precision, and destroy or disable those targets. The "M" is the DOD designation for multi-role, and "Q" means remotely piloted aircraft system. The "9" indicates it is the ninth in the series of remotely piloted aircraft systems.

General characteristics
Primary function: find, fix, and finish targets
Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Power plant: Honeywell TPE331-10GD turboprop engine
Thrust: 900 shaft horsepower maximum
Wingspan: 66 feet (20.1 meters)
Length: 36 feet (11 meters)
Height: 12.5 feet (3.8 meters)
Weight: 4,900 pounds (2,223 kilograms) empty  
Maximum takeoff weight: 10,500 pounds (4,760 kilograms)  
Fuel capacity: 4,000 pounds (602 gallons)
Payload: 3,750 pounds (1,701 kilograms)
Speed: cruise speed around 230 mph (200 knots)
Range: 1,150 miles (1,000 nautical miles)
Ceiling: Up to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)
Armament: combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions  
Crew (remote): two (pilot and sensor operator)  
Unit cost: $64.2 million (includes four aircraft, sensors, GCSs, and Comm.) (fiscal 2006 dollars)  
Initial operating capability: October 2007
Inventory: total force, 93

(Current as of September 2015)

Point of Contact
Air Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 115 Thompson St., Suite 210; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987; DSN 574-5007 or 757-764-5007; e-mail: accpa.operations@us.af.mil


Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Reserve Citizen Airman takes the fight to #COVID19 - https://t.co/IM7WSbM0Bz (Story by the @307BombWing) #ReserveReady #Re
Twitter
Airmen assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing @JBLM_PAO participate during a #JointForce exercise that also included a s… https://t.co/lWfcCDtlPV
Twitter
.@WeaponsSchool trains tactical experts and leaders to control and exploit air, space and cyber on behalf of the… https://t.co/Qy4RBNWGbe
Twitter
HVAC Airmen from the 355th Civil Engineer Squadron @DMAFB work year round to ensure DM Airmen are working at optima… https://t.co/SH4KBhqknQ
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: .@NCAirGuard Airman 1st Class Collins Ampong and @NCNationalGuard Spc. Flack work together to sort and process medical eq…
Twitter
Kymeta Government Solutions has developed a flat panel, electronically steered antenna w/no moving parts providing… https://t.co/Se2rd4X0d8
Twitter
The 31st Fighter Wing conducted the first Elephant Walk in Aviano Air Base history consisting of 31 F-16s, 2 HH-60… https://t.co/gSU2kCX9R7
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Into the Wild Blue Yonder✈️ 146th Maintenance Group Airmen & 115th Airlift Squadron aircrew collaborated to accomplish l…
Twitter
Staff Sgt. Damion Carbajal provides an inside look at the training and day-to-day life of a Flight Engineer. 📹 Vid… https://t.co/JKsDRlCT8B
Twitter
A 301st Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter flies over a beach shore as a storm begins to form over… https://t.co/z6Pix9XZok
Twitter
The Airmen @DMAFB train w/ @USMC to enhance their #JointForce readiness capabilities, day & night. 📹 U.S. Air For… https://t.co/KHbrH1vSu7
Twitter
The Dental clinic at Ellsworth AFB teamed up with the Maintenance Group to come up with innovative solutions to imp… https://t.co/NXB4G29Kns
Twitter
RT @Join_AFReserve: The start of a new era! https://t.co/mZjL4egK2u … The first KC-46A Pegasus, the new #aircraft replacing the KC-135 St…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Firefighters with @usairforce 307th Civil Engineer Squadron extinguish a fire during training at Barksdale Air Force Bas…
Twitter
Welcome home! The 71st Rescue Squadron returned from their deployment, to reuniting with friends and family at Mood… https://t.co/wsHquOQ2HO
Twitter
An Airman stationed @LukeAFB checks in & welcomes a new Airman to the base. This is a standard procedure in the mil… https://t.co/Yb4zAxFdgF
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: 446th medical professionals return home from #COVID19 relief efforts in #NYC - https://t.co/AEt1x7oJCB (Story by the @446A
Twitter
Amn 1st Class Jennifer Hutz, Ellsworth AFB Emergency Actions Controller, calls Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home. 📹… https://t.co/pBfuS5IL2s
Twitter
RT @Creech_AFB: It’s been an honor to welcome @GenDaveGoldfein back to the Home of the Hunters! Stay tuned for more & the words he imparte…
Twitter
#HappyFathersDay 🌼 to all the dads out there! https://t.co/XEjofQn46h
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,242,157
Follow Us