ΑΠΟΨΕΙΣ - 19/10/2021. Συντάκτης: Defendia Newsroom
The General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” is a Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), it was designed in the early 2000s, as the War on Terror saw an increase on the demand for new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) who can perform air strikes deep in enemy territory with an heavier payload than the predecessors of the Reaper, like the MQ-1 “Predator”. The Reaper can carry a wide range of weapons like AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 (227lbs) guided bombs and AIM-9X air to air missiles, with a total payload of 850 lbs (386 kg) internal and 3,000 lbs (1361 kg) external. It took its first flight in 2000 and in 2007 it entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF). It’s first operations came in 2008, when it attacked targets in Afghanistan and later Iraq, scoring many kills, but also loosing a lot of them in combat and training operations. The Reaper has fought in many conflicts over the years under the service of multiple nation’s air forces. On 13 November 2015, the Pentagon reported that an MQ-9 had killed ISIL member Mohammed Emwazi, popularly known as “Jihadi John”, who was responsible for executing several Western prisoners. Also, on 3 January 2020, a US MQ-9 missile strike at Baghdad International Airport killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. The MQ-9s, despite the looses they have endured, they remain a significant asset for any Air Force to operate. France, UK, Italy and Spain are some of the Western Air Forces to use the Reaper. Currently it is the best UCAV in the world and it could be an option for the Hellenic Air Force, to reinforce its UAV fleet with a designated killer, who has proved its worth over the years.