The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations
The US Marine Corps (USMC) will acquire two MQ-9A Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs and related systems. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed that it had awarded GA-ASI a $13.06 million contract modification related to the procurement of the two Reaper air vehicles and other UAS equipment.
The Reaper is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. 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 and reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy and raid overwatch, route clearance, 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.
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.