General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper Drone Completes Over 2 Million Flight Hours

Defense contractor General Atomics (GA-ASI) has announced that its MQ-9A Reaper drone has surpassed 2 million flight hours. The long-endurance aircraft is expected to continue to deliver unmatched operational flexibility for the warfighter.
MQ-9 Reaper 9 photos
Photo: General Atomics
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Officially designated as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), the MQ-9A drone took to the skies for the first time in 2001. Over the years, it has become a reliable platform capable of exceeding manned aircraft standards.

Powered by the Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, the MQ-9A can reach speeds of 276 mph (444 kph) and climb up to 50,000 ft (15,240 meters). It can stay in the air for 27 hours, and it has a payload capacity of 3,850 lbs (1,746 kg) that includes 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg) of external stores.

The aircraft has a modular design that allows it to be configured to fit different mission requirements. It can carry a Lynx multi-mode radar, multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, laser designators, and various weapons.

"We developed the MQ-9A to set the standard for persistent surveillance and rapid strike capability, and it's delivered on expectations," said GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development, J.R. Reid.

"The effectiveness of a military aircraft can be measured in how often its used (total flight hours) and in its readiness to perform, and the MQ-9A exceeds in performance on both metrics."

Each month, the Reaper drones are operated for more than 48,000 hours to support the USAF, the Army, the Marine Corps, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the RAF, the French Air Force, the UAE Armed Forces, and the Indian Government. And new MQ-9As are getting delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force as well.

The aircraft are used to help first responders in case of natural disasters, assist ground units on the battlefield, and in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. GA-ASI will continue to enhance the MQ-9A's capabilities, making it more relevant to the evolving needs of its customers.
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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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