The MQ-9 Reaper is the US drone which is said to have been shot down by the Russian Su-27 fighter jet on Tuesday.
This surveillance drone was included in the US Air Force and its maker, General Atomics shared a few details about it.
It’s owner and usage:
MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicle can loiter at up to 50,000 feet for more than 27 hours, gathering intelligence with sophisticated cameras, sensors and radars.
With a 66 foot wingspan, a Honeywell engine, it can carry 3,900 pounds of fuel and travel at a speed of 240 knots ‘true air speed’.
This drone was delivered to the Air Force 16 years ago, and has the the ability to be equipped with weapons such as air-to-ground missiles.
MQ-9s have also been purchased by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, UK Royal Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the French Air Force and the Spanish Air Force.
According to General Atomics, drones are generally less expensive than manned aircraft with similar capabilities, and are safer for operators since they do not require a pilot. Unlike most other aircraft, drones can loiter for hours gathering intelligence material. They cost about $3,500 per flight hour, compared to about $8,000 per flight hour to operate, for example, an F-16.
MQ-9 has “demonstrated an air-to-air weapons capability” in Air Force tests. It can also be equipped with a “Self Protect Pod” that can detect threats and deploy countermeasures against surface-to-air weapons, says General Atomics.