MQ-9 Reaper: General Atomics Aeronautical System

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The MQ-9 Reaper The MQ-9 Reaper was designed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. There have been multiple updates and refinements to the aircraft itself, but its original design was based on the Predator airframe, also designed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The original proof of concept was named the Predator B-001, which took to the skies in February of 2001. After the proof of concept was successful, General Atomics Aeronautical System planned to refine the system, coming up with two separate designs designated B-002 and B-003 (Whittle,2013). The Reaper is specifically built as a “Hunter-Killer” UAS, meaning its specific mission is to locate, track, and eliminate a specified target. Doing so requires the use of multiple …show more content…
I will start with its uses here at home with its work with US Customs and Border Patrol as well as NASA. For the US Customs and Border Patrol the primary function is to provide surveillance and reconnaissance along both the US and Mexican border and the US and Canadian border (GCN,2006) (Military.com,2014). These systems are not equipped with armament. I cannot figure out why the Customs and Border Patrol chose to use the MQ-9 Reaper instead of its predecessor the MQ-1 Predator. The only viable option I can come up with is the fact that the Reaper comes equipped with the Synthetic Aperture Radar and the Predator does not, which could be of vital importance along the border while searching for drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. Another variant, the Guardian, was adopted and used by Customs and Border Patrol along with the US Coast Guard for maritime operations. This variant is equipped with a SeaVue marine search radar and its other visual sensors were recalibrated to optimize them for those maritime operations …show more content…
From the U.S. Air Force to Customs and Border Patrol to NASA, the possibilities for this platform are far-reaching and they are still developing to this day. As we progress into the future I am confident the MQ-9 Reaper will not only further solidify and justify its position and existence in the aerial world, but continue to push the boundary and advancement of both the technology that help run the system itself, but also the payloads that are equipped to it that aid in it performance for the variety of roles it

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