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361st Expeditionary Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper Fact Sheet

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jim Bentley
  • 361st Expeditionary Attack Squadron

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is one of the most effective weapons in the Air Force arsenal.


Pilots and sensor operators with the 361st Expeditionary Attack Squadron use the MQ-9 for intelligence and observation, as well as precision airstrikes. They are flown by remote control and if communications are lost, can fly autonomously to a preprogrammed area until control can be reestablished.


Each one is equipped with a sensor array including high resolution cameras, long range radar, infrared sensors and flight control measurements such as speed, altitude and wind. Because of the ability to see in infrared, the MQ-9 can be operated at night and does not require runway lights in order to land. This serves the mission set well, as it makes it easier for the craft to pass undetected in hostile territory. An onboard laser designator lets the sensor operator tag a target for extremely precise strikes, neutralizing enemy combatants while minimizing civilian casualties.


They also carry highly sophisticated weaponry, from bombs to sensor operated guided missiles capable of traveling more than twice the speed of sound. Propelled by a Honeywell TPE331 engine, the Reaper itself can stay airborne for up to a full day at an altitude of up to fifty thousand feet.