US Air Force to Update MQ-9A Fleet With Automatic Land-And-Take-Off Capability Written 19 July 2021


MQ-9 Reaper taxiing | U.S. Air Force photo; Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson; Wikipedia; Public Domain

FlightGlobal reports that US Air Force “plans to start updating its fleet of MQ-9A Reapers with an automatic land-and-take-off capability starting in the spring of 2022.” The update “would allow aircrew to land or take off the UAV remotely using a satellite link. The MQ-9 would also use the electro-optical and infrared cameras in its targeting pod to survey a prospective runway.” Lt. Col. Nathaniel Totten, 49th Wing deputy commander at Holloman Air Force Base, said, “Previously, MQ-9s could only land and take off if there was a local crew to line-of-sight link with the aircraft. ... With this new capability, an MQ-9 can theoretically land anywhere there is a runway large enough.”
Full Story (FlightGlobal)