On Aug. 18, an unmanned U.S. observation aircraft was shot down over Northern Syria, according to local media reports.
A MQ-9 Reaper, a $15 million unmanned aerial combat vehicle, has been shot down over the opposition-held province of Idlib, north-western Syria.
Initially, the militants passed it off as a downed Russian Orlan-10 drone, but the photo showed the wreckage of MQ-9.
Reaper is a remotely piloted medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) aircraft that is employed primarily against dynamic execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset.
Unmanned aircraft can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9’s capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.
A crew comprising a pilot, sensor operator and mission intelligence co-ordinator flies Reaper from a remote ground control station (GCS). An in-theatre launch and recovery team is responsible for its ground operations.