Military Review

British UAV Reaper returned home

British UAV Reaper returned home

Operators of the British UAV Reaper moved to the UAV control center in the UK. In the past four years, British UAV operators have driven the Reaper from the US Air Force UAV control center in Nevada as part of the joint US-British Reaper use group. It was a convenient and inexpensive way to learn how to work with such a center (where UAVs are controlled via satellite communications).

For the first time, Britain acquired Reaper UAVs in the 2007 year due to "urgent operational requirements" to support British troops in Afghanistan. The British were very pleased with their Reaper (despite some losses due to mechanical damage). A joint task force in Nevada that included British operators and commanders made it possible to quickly learn from the American experience with the UAVs Reaper and Predator. Like the Americans, the British believe that the Reaper's long flight time has a decisive advantage. This opportunity put the Taliban at a very disadvantage and significantly improved the security and offensive capabilities of the British forces. The British also discovered that the Reaper is much more cost effective than other aircraft such as the Harrier combat aircraft and the AH-64 helicopter.

Three years ago, the UK decided to increase the number of its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, bringing them to the 25. Currently, the UK has five Reaper and should get more this year. From the 2009 year, at least two British Reaper operate in Afghanistan at any given time. The first British Reaper entered service in Afghanistan in 2007, and since then the British Reaper has spent more than 45000 hours in the air. In the 2008, the British Reaper were armed. Since then, the British Reaper have used it. weapon (usually Hellfire rockets) about 350 times. The “crews” of the British Reaper usually consist of one operator (pilot) and two sensor operators.

Before the British Reaper arrived in Afghanistan, the UK rented a Hermes 450 Predator UAV in Israel. However, the larger Reaper turned out to be preferable in this region. Each MQ-9 Reaper costs $ 18 millions (with ground equipment and the most advanced sensors). The 4.7-ton Reaper produced in America has a wingspan of 21 meters and is capable of carrying a payload of 1.7 tons. Currently in operation are about 200 Reaper, they are mainly in service with the American army.

A reaper is considered a combat aircraft, because it can carry more than a ton of bombs or missiles. This includes 49 kilogram Hellfire missiles and up to four 228 kilogram smart bombs with laser or GPS guidance. Reapers can carry four Hellfire instead of one JDAM. Often, Hellfire is preferred because it reduces the risk of causing collateral damage to civilians. The main advantage of UAVs over manned fighter-bombers is that they can stay in the combat zone for much longer, and do so with interchangeable crews, so there are always attentive eyes using powerful sensors placed on the Reaper.
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  1. Lech from ZATULINKI
    Lech from ZATULINKI 17 May 2013 06: 30
    This opportunity put the Taliban at a very disadvantage and greatly improved the security and offensive capabilities of the British forces.

    Of course, this weapon is very good against the Aboriginal people - the Taliban have no means of protection against these aircraft.
    Such devices were useful to us in the NORTH CAUCASUS - a couple of dozens of these IMPACT UAVs would constantly keep the militants in suspense in suspense.
  2. Burbulator
    Burbulator 17 May 2013 08: 38
    200 Ripers ?!
    That's awesome!
    4 years to learn to manage - how to finish straight at the institute.
    Expensive however
    1. Lord of the Sith
      Lord of the Sith 17 May 2013 11: 20
      About 75 MQ9 Reaper in the US Armed Forces, 7 MQ9 Reaper at the US Border Guard and around 10 MQ9 Reaper at the CIA.

      Ceiling: 15 km
      Autonomy: 16–28 h
      Range: 5920 km
      Fuel capacity: 1300 kg
      Length: 11 meters
      Load capacity: 1700 kg
      The weight: 2223 kg (empty); 4760 kg (maximum)
      Wingspan: 20 m
      Maximum speed: 400 km / h
      Cruising speed: 160 km / h
      Engine: Honeywell TP331-10 turboprop, 670 kW

      Synthesized aperture radar station AN / APY-8 Lynx II, capable of working in the mapping mode - in the nose fairing.
      Combined electron-optical and thermal imaging sighting station MTS-B - on a spherical suspension under the fuselage. It includes a laser rangefinder-target designator capable of targeting the entire spectrum of US and NATO ammunition with semi-active laser guidance.

      It has six suspension points:
      2 internal 680 kg each
      2 in the middle of the wing, 230-270 kg
      2 cantilevers for 68–91 kg

      Can carry:
      Up to 14 air-to-ground missiles AGM-114 Hellfire
      Or 4 Hellfire missiles and two Mark 82 laser-guided bombs (GBU-12)
      Or Mark 82 GPS Guided Bombs (JDAM)

      AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles are being tested.
  3. cobalt
    cobalt 17 May 2013 10: 20
    Well, pilots of combat aircraft are trained for a long time and costs more, because they fly on combat training aircraft, and then on combat aircraft, and the operators probably "fly" on computer simulators for half the training period, which is already cheaper. And in combat operation, then an attack aircraft to drive, how much it costs, and then an UAV is always cheaper. We urgently need to catch up, and after all, in the USSR, UAVs were actively used in combat training. The first Soviet supersonic unmanned reconnaissance aircraft TU-123 "Yastreb". May 23, 1964 was put into service. A total of 52 vehicles of this type were produced, which were located in the western districts of the country. Their service continued until the early 80s. The flight range of the vehicles allowed them to carry out reconnaissance flights over most of Europe (about 3600 km). And the maximum speed of 2700 km / h gave every chance to escape the air defense of a potential enemy.
    And here is a photo of a later UAV "Flight"