US Air Force prepares to replace MQ-9 Reaper with next-generation drone family

With its predecessor the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-9 Reaper is the most iconic American UAV of the past twenty years. Used by the USAF and the CIA, exported to the United Kingdom, Italy or France, this reconnaissance and attack drone alone evokes the asymmetrical nature of the Afghan, Iraqi and African conflicts waged by the United States and their allies. However, since the mid-2010s, the American armed forces have once again been faced with high-intensity threats, whether facing Russia or China.

In such a context, the MQ-XNUMX Reaper appears to be an unsuitable and outdated tool , forcing the USAF to anticipate its replacement by a new unmanned system by a few years and to limit the number of platforms ordered to XNUMX, instead of the XNUMX so far planned. The suspension of orders for Reaper in XNUMX could be a blow for its manufacturer General Atomics but also for the allies of the USA who recently bought the unmanned aircraft. This would however free up funds to study the replacement of the Reaper by a family of UAVs better suited to future conflicts.

Having made its first flight in 2009, the Avenger drone (Predator-C) from General Atomics was designed to take over from the Reaper in the most contested environments. General Dynamics may well offer a derivative of its Avenger for the future replacement market of the MQ-9 Reaper

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