In Fiscal Year 2024, the US Air Force will be phasing out a large number of not only aircraft. Drones can also get under the knife.
What is known
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) showed the MQ-9 Reaper drone more than 20 years ago. During this time, the manufacturer has produced several hundred drones, which have entered service with different countries of the world.
Naturally, the main operator is the United States. But in fiscal year 2024, the US Air Force wants to phase out several dozen drones. The service intends to retire all Block 1 level MQ-9 drones.
In total, the US Air Force is armed with 48 Block 1 drones. There is nothing strange in the desire of the service to abandon all drones, because already in 2012 they passed tests of an improved version – Reaper Block 1+. Since 2017, the US Air Force has been using Block 5 level drones.
The MQ-9 Reaper is 11 meters long and has a wingspan of 20 meters. The maximum payload weight is 1.7 tons. The drone can reach speeds of up to 482 km / h and climb to a height of up to 15,420 meters, while the operating altitude is 7.5 km. The range is 1900 km. Reaper has seven hardpoints and carries AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and GBU-12 Paveway, GBU-38 JDAM bombs.