Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Shot From 7,000 Miles Away

The Bismarck Tribune reports:

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) -- The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

INDIAN SPRINGS -- Commanders at Creech Air Force Base launched a new era of aviation history Thursday, activating an attack squadron for the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper spy plane, a big brother of the MQ-1 Predator that can fly faster and higher and drop laser-guided bombs as well as fire missiles.

"The Reaper is like a Predator on steroids," Lt. Col. Jonathan Greene, commander of the 42nd Attack Squadron, said after the activation ceremony in a hangar where a Reaper with his name on it was parked, north of the base's main Predator complex.

Courtesy the tank.
Update: More from engadget on the Reaper.


Anonymous said...

Lol well these UAV's may end up putting me out of a job!But I can't help but think there is so much that could go wrong during an Op which would leave some seriously bad PR.

Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

I agree, UAV's alone won't be able to fully satisfy our aviation needs any time soon - if ever.

I'm sure we'll always have a need for ace pilots such as yourself.