The U.S. Air Force announced its intention to purchase an upgraded version of UAV MQ-9 Reaper (pictured) with a larger range of actions (Extended Range, ER), reports Defense News. Characteristics are unknown until the impending purchase. Funds for the acquisition of new drones made in the U.S. defense budget in 2014. According to the U.S. Air Force, the new MQ-9ER allow military immediately use less drones, striking at a greater depth on the terrain of the enemy.
Upgraded Reaper drones will get stuck with an improved wing fuel tanks. Due to this increase drone flight time is 10 hours to 24 hours (this option is specified for the device with a full combat load). Flight duration reconnaissance versions of MQ-9 at the current time is 30 hours; eventually upgrading to increase to 40 hours. Final specifications will be an upgraded version of Reaper agreed recently.
In May 2012, the U.S. first flight performed a modernized version of MQ-9 — MQ-9 Block I +. This unit has received more powerful onboard generator Energy consumption, secure channel, and the possibility of automatic landing equipment that allows to transmit video in real time. In addition, the increased maximum takeoff weight of the device and the Expansion of the range of its weapons. In September last year MQ-9 Block I + received approval for mass production. Adopt such devices began to come under the designation of MQ-9 Block 5.
UAV MQ-9 can carry weapons attachments total weight up to 1.7 tons and speeds of up to 482 km per hour. Range UAV acts currently being limited only by the duration of his flight, as control of the machine is carried out on the satellite channel. The passage of operator commands for such communication lines is 1.2 seconds.