Tuesday, December 6, 2022

U.S. Air Force shows its MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft at exercise ‘Clear Sky 18’

For the first time, the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft has performed demonstrate its flying skill along during the multinational military exercise Clear Sky 2018 in Ukraine.

The MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (N429HK registration, Manufacturer’s Serial Number FC429), assigned to Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland., flew over Starokostiantyniv Air Base during Media Dao of the Clear Sky 18 exercise.

It was for the first time that the U.S.Air Force showed in flight its MQ-9 unmanned drone from in Ukrainian sky. The MQ-9 drone flew, accompanied by a pair of fighters F-16 Polish Air Force, from the military base Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland.


The Reaper, a remotely piloted aircraft primarily designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection, can also perform close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike and other critical functions, making it an indispensable tool.

The MQ-9 model is designed by the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems to eliminate man hours on assembly time and reduce security concerns.

According to the General Atomics, Reaper has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS(abbreviation for knots true airspeed, a unit of speed measurement), can operate up to 50,000 feet, and has a 3,850 pound (1746 kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1361 kilograms) of external stores.

An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.

MQ-9 Reaper is powered by the flight-certified and proven Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, integrated with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC), which significantly improves engine performance and fuel efficiency, particularly at low altitudes.

The aircraft is highly modular and is configured easily with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. MQ-9 Reaper is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads to include: Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Lynx® Multi-mode Radar, multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), laser designators, and various weapons packages.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.