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General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

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General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby SKB » 30 May 2015, 03:09

Image

Introduction
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force. UAVs are also commonly referred to as drones by the media. The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the U.S. Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.

The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator's 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The power increase allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at almost three times the speed of the MQ-1. The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS), including weapons employment.

In 2008, the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing began the transition from F-16 piloted fighters to MQ-9 Reapers, becoming the first fighter squadron conversion to an all–unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) attack squadron. In March 2011, the U.S. Air Force was training more pilots for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles than for any other single weapons system. The Reaper is also used by the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, NASA, and others.

Then Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley said, "We've moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper."

United Kingdom
On 27 September 2006, the U.S. Congress was notified by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency that the United Kingdom was seeking to purchase a pair of MQ-9 Reapers. They were initially operated by No. 39 Squadron RAF from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada later moving to RAF Waddington. A third MQ-9 was in the process of being purchased by the RAF in 2007. On 9 November 2007, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced that its Reapers had begun operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban. In April 2008, following the crash of one of the UK's two Reapers, British special forces were sent to recover sensitive material from the wreckage before it was blown up to prevent the enemy from obtaining it. By May 2011, five Reapers were in operation, with a further five on order.

The second RAF squadron to operate five Reapers is XIII Sqn, which was formally activated and commissioned on 26 October 2012. No. 39 Squadron personnel were planned to gradually return to the UK in 2013 and in time both squadrons would each operate five Reapers from RAF Waddington. In April 2013, XIII squadron started full operations from RAF Waddington, exercising control over a complement of 10 Reapers, at that point all based in Afghanistan. Five Reapers can provide 36 hours of combined surveillance coverage in Afghanistan with individual sorties lasting up to 16 hours; a further five vehicles increases this to 72 hours. In total, RAF Reapers flew 71,000 flight hours in Afghanistan, and dropped 510 guided weapons (compared to 497 for Harrier and Tornado). In April 2013, it was revealed that the MOD was studying the adoption of MBDA's Brimstone missile upon the MQ-9. In December 2013, several successful test firings of the Brimstone missile from a Reaper at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to support integration onto RAF Reapers. Nine missiles were fired at an altitude of 20,000 ft at distances of 7 to 12 km (4.3 to 7.5 mi) from the targets; all nine scored direct hits against static, accelerating, weaving, and fast remotely controlled targets.

In 2014, the MOD decided that its Reaper fleet will be brought into the RAF's core fleet once operations over Afghanistan cease. Procurement of the MQ-9 was via an urgent operational capability requirement and funded from the Treasury reserve, but induction into the core fleet will have them funded from the MoD's budget. The Reapers were retained for contingent purposes, mainly to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), until its replacement enters service around 2018. On 4 October 2015 David Cameron announced that the RAF would replace its existing fleet of 10 Reapers with more than 20 of the "latest generation of RPAS", named as "Protector", In April 2016 document, the MoD revealed the Protector will be a version of the Reaper, the Certifiable Predator B (CPB) version that is made to fly in European airspace, and will be acquired from 2018–2030.

On 16 October 2014, the MOD announced the deployment of armed Reapers in Operation Shader, the UK's contribution to the United States-led military intervention against Islamic State, the first occasion the UK had used its Reapers outside Afghanistan. The number of aircraft out of the RAF's 10-plane fleet was not disclosed, but it was expected that at least two were sent; more were dispatched as the UK drew down from Afghanistan. RAF Reapers' primary purpose is to provide surveillance support and situational awareness to coalition forces. On 10 November 2014, the MoD reported that an RAF Reaper had conducted its first airstrike against Islamic State forces, firing a Hellfire missile at militants placing an IED near Bayji. RAF Reapers based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus conducted one surveillance mission over Syria in November 2014, four in December 2014, and eight in January 2015. On 7 September 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that two Islamic State fighters from Britain had been killed in an intelligence-led strike by an RAF Reaper near Raqqa, Syria, the first armed use of RAF assets in Syria during the civil war. By January 2016, RAF Reapers had flown 1,000 sorties in support of Operation Shader. Compared to operations in Afghanistan, where RAF Reapers fired 16 Hellfire missiles in 2008, 93 in 2013, and 94 in 2014, in operations against ISIL 258 Hellfires were fired in 2015

Royal Air Force
No. 13 Squadron RAF
No. 39 Squadron RAF

Crew: 0 onboard, 2 in ground station
Length: 36 ft 1 in (11 m)
Wingspan: 65 ft 7 in (20 m)
Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Empty weight: 4,901 lb (2,223 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 10,494 lb (4,760 kg)
Fuel capacity: 4,000 lb (1,800 kg)
Payload: 3,800 lb (1,700 kg)
Internal: 800 lb (360 kg)
External: 3,000 lb (1,400 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop, 900 hp (671 kW) with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC)
Maximum speed: 300 mph; 260 kn (482 km/h)
Cruising speed: 194 mph; 169 kn (313 km/h)
Range: 1,151 mi; 1,852 km (1,000 nmi)
Endurance: 14 hours fully loaded
Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
Operational altitude: 25,000 ft (7.5 km)
Armament:
7 hardpoints
Up to 1,500 lb (680 kg) on the two inboard weapons stations
Up to 750 lb (340 kg) on the two middle stations
Up to 150 lb (68 kg) on the outboard stations
Centre station not used
Up to 4 AGM-114 Hellfire air to ground missiles can be carried or four Hellfire missiles and two 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs. The 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) can also be carried. Testing is underway to support the operation of the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile. In March 2014, MBDA successfully test fired a dual mode Brimstone missile from a Reaper aircraft on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence and Royal Air Force.
Avionics:
AN/APY-8 Lynx II radar
Raytheon SeaVue Marine Search Radar, on the Guardian variants
AN/DAS-1 MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby SKB » 30 May 2015, 03:09


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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby marktigger » 30 May 2015, 06:24

drones fantastic idea where you have total air superiority, your opponent has no Electronic warfare capability and no proper air defence system. But totally useless in a real war where they will revert to their original role as anti aircraft targets. Something defence planners appear to over look.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 04 Jun 2015, 11:28

UK, France Discuss Reaper Pilot Training
PARIS — Britain is exploring with France a joint training effort for pilots and procurement of the Reaper, reflecting an intense use of the surveillance drone in Africa and the Middle East, said British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.

The UK and France both operate the General Atomics Reaper, with the British Royal Air Force flying armed versions of the drone against Islamic State insurgents in Iraq. France recently received a third Reaper.

"I specifically want to talk to Minister Le Drian today about Reaper UAV capacity," Fallon told journalists here. "There is bottleneck on training drone pilots and we're all short of drones.

"We have 10, they're out on service at the moment, each one of them. We don't have spare capacity to allocate anywhere else. Maybe there is much we could do there in common, either in the training or the procurement."

[...]

The possible Anglo-French cooperation could include training, personnel, logistics and support features.

A joint support for the Reaper was discussed among European Union defense ministers two weeks ago, Fallon said. The medium altitude, long endurance UAV is being flown in Niger, Chad, Libya and the Middle East.

France received a third MQ-9 Reaper, less than two months after the contract was awarded, General Atomics said May 29. The first two Reapers flown by the French Air Force have accumulated more than 4,000 flight hours since deployment in January 2014.

[...]

France is looking very carefully at the Watchkeeper tactical UAV system, a senior British official said. "They've got a procurement process but it's fair to say Watchkeeper is a strong candidate," the official said.
Read More: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /28408303/

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 09 Jun 2015, 21:21

The all 10 out on service is what caught my eye. Where are they based ?
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby downsizer » 10 Jun 2015, 12:03

Abroad.

10Opsecs

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 09 Jul 2015, 11:21

Exclusive Tour of RAF Reaper's 'Drones' Base
5 live Daily's exclusive tour of the RAF base where British aircrews sit in metal cabins on the ground, watching and attacking targets thousands of miles away.

They're the crew of Reaper, the unmanned aircraft currently targeting so-called Islamic State in Iraq and performing surveillance duties in Syria.

Some refer to these planes as "drones" but the Ministry of Defence prefers to describe them as remotely piloted air systems RPAS - or Reaper.

Adrian Chiles is the first member of the media to be allowed inside the headquarters since the UK started surveillance and attack missions against IS last year.

This clip is from 5 live Daily 9 July 2015.
Watch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02wmp15

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 25 Sep 2015, 11:56

Image

Reaper developed to launch souobouy, awaiting flight trials.

Soon UK reaper's could have,
Sea spray radar
Extended wings
External fuel tanks
National airspace clearance
And sounobouy Despenser

With all of that it starts to sound like a worthy low cost complement in the future MPA solution. Almost certainly being developed with the UK in mind.

If the reaper could be operated from on board the P8 you shorten the information chain and could create a very interesting system. No only would that be of benifits in the MPA domain, but also over land. A P8 could identify and track a target, and then guide a reaper in to take it out, all in one aircraft.

Full story
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... um=twitter
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby Dahedd » 26 Sep 2015, 06:50

What would be the differences between the above Predator & the proposed Mariner variant?
such as this http://www.theuav.com/mariner_uav.html
Or this
http://casr.ca/bg-uav-justas-guardian.htm

Sorry if it's a daft question. Interested civie being nosey.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 26 Sep 2015, 09:35

Dahedd wrote:What would be the differences between the above Predator & the proposed Mariner variant?
such as this http://www.theuav.com/mariner_uav.html
Or this
http://casr.ca/bg-uav-justas-guardian.htm

Sorry if it's a daft question. Interested civie being nosey.


I think the mariner is an old variant that is no longer active.

Most of the proposals for the mariner variant are now available as add ons to the standard preditor, such as longer wings and strengthened landing gear. They are available off the shelf and are in service elsewhere so it could extend the usefulness of the reaper quite easily.

It is psooible the UK could select all the add ons and turn our reaper's into a maritime version.
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 Sep 2015, 09:51

BAMS had serious de-icing problems, though specifically developed to operate in oceanic climate conditions... I wonder how a Reaper derivative would manage

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby jonas » 26 Sep 2015, 19:04

shark bait wrote:Image

Reaper developed to launch souobouy, awaiting flight trials.

Soon UK reaper's could have,
Sea spray radar
Extended wings
External fuel tanks
National airspace clearance
And sounobouy Despenser

With all of that it starts to sound like a worthy low cost complement in the future MPA solution. Almost certainly being developed with the UK in mind.

If the reaper could be operated from on board the P8 you shorten the information chain and could create a very interesting system. No only would that be of benifits in the MPA domain, but also over land. A P8 could identify and track a target, and then guide a reaper in to take it out, all in one aircraft.

Full story
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... um=twitter


Really ? I would have thought it would be the other way around. Reaper would drop the buoys,relay the info back to P8 who would then take on the contact. That is unless you have information that says the Reaper has the technology to carry out ops with torpedo's, or in fact anything else ASW wise other than buoys.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 26 Sep 2015, 21:03

jonas wrote:Really ? I would have thought it would be the other way around. Reaper would drop the buoys,relay the info back to P8 who would then take on the contact. That is unless you have information that says the Reaper has the technology to carry out ops with torpedo's, or in fact anything else ASW wise other than buoys.


No it will work the way you say. The preditor won't do any acoustic processing, instead relaying the data via satellite to be processed, either by a ground station or perhaps P8.

I should have been clearer, that last past of my comment was speculation on my part. Perhaps when the P8 is snooping over the ground with its AAS it could designate targets for the reaper, and then guide the reaper in to atack, all from on board the P8. That could be a very interesting system, significantly shortening the information chain.
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby riksavage » 04 Oct 2015, 02:53

The UK PM made references to a new drone called: Protector (not the unmanned water vehicle offering). Is this the upgraded Reaper with extended wings, external fuel tanks and improved landing gear? Flight duration improved to 70hrs +. Existing Reapers can be upgraded apparently and additional versions can then be added to the current fleet.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 04 Oct 2015, 06:35

USAF started flying the extended range Reaper in August:
"Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “We are pleased that the Reaper ER program has met the expectations of our Air Force customer and satisfied the enormous challenge of their Quick Reaction Capability [QRC] schedule requirement.”

A Reaper can be transformed into a Reaper ER through the integration of a field-retrofittable modification package consisting of two wing-mounted fuel tanks which significantly extend the aircraft’s maximum endurance. Reaper’s original external payload carriage configuration remains unchanged, providing the aircraft with a “mix and match” capability that allows it to carry both fuel tanks and an assortment of external payloads. To increase thrust and improve takeoff performance at higher gross weights, an alcohol/water injection system and a four-bladed propeller were incorporated, along with a heavyweight trailing arm landing gear system that enables safe ground operations at the heavier gross weight.

The Reaper ER program was a QRC requirement in support of USAF which challenged GA-ASI to deliver 38 Reaper ER aircraft in 13 months, and to be operational 18 months following contract award. The ER modification package was designed to be field-retrofittable so that fuel tanks and associated equipment could be installed quickly and conveniently on current Reapers at worldwide locations"

http://media.ga-asi.com/2015/09/15/u-s- ... ded-range/

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 04 Oct 2015, 09:11

The possibility to re-role Reapers between maritime surveillance and strike/ overland ISR in a 12-hr time frame is quite promising

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -9-417133/

What is said in the article about increased external fuel and lengthened wing with extra internal fuel tallies up well with the USAF Reaper ER development and fielding steps. Further, there is an, albeit old, confirmation that the Brimstone integration is being worked on within the US Big Safari Programme (they are the ones who armed the Predators/ Reapers in the first place, turning a pure surveillance mission into a combination with strike).

http://aviationweek.com/defense/uk-look ... reaper-uav

If you take these developments, together with
- the agonising over the unit cost of P8s (that can also persecute, not just find)
- the possibility to quickly re-roll Reapers between over-land and maritime
- the increased endurance coming with new Reaper versions
- and the coming doubling of the so (broadly) named UK fleet
... it would all make sense

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 04 Oct 2015, 10:25

ArmChairCivvy wrote:The possibility to re-role Reapers between maritime surveillance and strike/ overland ISR in a 12-hr time frame is quite promising

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -9-417133/

What is said in the article about increased external fuel and lengthened wing with extra internal fuel tallies up well with the USAF Reaper ER development and fielding steps. Further, there is an, albeit old, confirmation that the Brimstone integration is being worked on within the US Big Safari Programme (they are the ones who armed the Predators/ Reapers in the first place, turning a pure surveillance mission into a combination with strike).

http://aviationweek.com/defense/uk-look ... reaper-uav

If you take these developments, together with
- the agonising over the unit cost of P8s (that can also persecute, not just find)
- the possibility to quickly re-roll Reapers between over-land and maritime
- the increased endurance coming with new Reaper versions
- and the coming doubling of the so (broadly) named UK fleet
... it would all make sense


Brimstone has had successful life fires from the reaper already.

I would have to agree with you. A modular maritime fit, to range extend reaper's makes alot of sense.

Maximises the application of existing assers, and adding new applications without a whole new logistics and training effort. It seams like it would be a very sensible choice. The maritime patrol option is clearly of specific interest to the UK now, and it could be the low cost system we need to compliment the high cost P8. Im sure they could find some useful synergies there especially, as I posted previously, they work on controlling the reaper from on board the P8
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby bobp » 04 Oct 2015, 18:38

Was wondering how much a new Reaper purchase would cost. The air vehicles are only about 10 million each. Ok that doesn't include additional sensors, spares, ground stations, manuals, ground equipment but it seems like a reasonable purchase, hopefully the government will provide extra funding for it rather than it coming from the core defence spending.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby Gabriele » 04 Oct 2015, 20:34

bobp wrote:Was wondering how much a new Reaper purchase would cost. The air vehicles are only about 10 million each. Ok that doesn't include additional sensors, spares, ground stations, manuals, ground equipment but it seems like a reasonable purchase, hopefully the government will provide extra funding for it rather than it coming from the core defence spending.


The FMS request from France, for 16 Reapers, is the most recent: price for them, the GCS and related equipment and spares: 1,5 bilion USD. http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/fr ... -9-reapers
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby bobp » 04 Oct 2015, 21:20

Thanks Gabriele so were looking at a billion pounds bearing in mind that we have some ground stations already. Still seems a reasonable amount for 20 systems, which includes perhaps the naval aspect of launching sonar buoys. Also the extended range of the ER will help in places like the middle east and north Africa.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 Oct 2015, 02:12

Gabriele wrote:is the most recent: price for them, the GCS and related equipment and spares


This time we have the middle two from the list above. One would expect more to be required when the units to be flown go double in number, but there have been productivity gains of 3-12 x advertised by means of the same team controlling multiple circuits that are airborne at the same time... obviously in the same theatre as the broader briefing is as important as the minute-to-minute controlling.


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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 05 Oct 2015, 23:15

I was interested in how much a reaper really costs since Gabriele blew my previous idea out the water. Looking at some DOD budget reports I have the following

Research, Development, Test & Evaluation = M$1,682.681
Aircraft Procurement = M$6,570.344
Initial Spares = M$1,130.368
Aircraft Spares and Repair Parts = M$4,580.654

Procurement Quantity = 361 Units includes all components of the MQ-9 weapon system. The basic MQ-9 Reaper system consists of the aircraft, sensors, a Ground Control Station (GCS), communications equipment,
weapon kits, support equipment, simulator and training devices, Readiness Spares Packages (RSP), technical data/training, and personnel required to operate, maintain, and sustain the system


Which works out to be £25.5 Million

Which is pretty much double the cost I had in my head, and I think perhaps some others.

http://www.bga-aeroweb.com/Defense/Budg ... FY2016.pdf
http://www.bga-aeroweb.com/Defense/Budg ... FY2016.pdf
http://www.bga-aeroweb.com/Defense/Budg ... FY2016.pdf
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby riksavage » 08 Oct 2015, 09:28

Confirmation the Protector UAV will be a Predator B or MQ-9 Reaper Batch 5 derivative according to FLIGHT GLOBAL.

In service date of 2020 means the sonar buoy option would be available.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (UCAV) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 08 Oct 2015, 10:18

shark bait wrote:Which works out to be £25.5 Million

Exactly the kind of money wanted for tiffie upgrade from T1 std to T3... so quite likely about right.

I think the R&D for weaponising it is missing (Big Safari) whereas the hw ( the end result) is included.


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