Finally. The Air Force names an airplane the “Reaper.” And it deserves the name.
The Air Force next month will deploy a new generation of pilotless airplane with the bombing power of an F-16 to help stop the stubborn Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
The Reaper is an upgraded version of the Predator, which has become one of the military’s most sought-after planes since it first appeared in Afghanistan in 2001. The Reaper can fly three times as fast as a Predator and carry eight times more weaponry, such as Hellfire missiles, the Air Force said.
The Reaper’s greater range and speed make it better suited than the Predator to Afghanistan’s vast, rugged terrain. The Reaper will also be deployed to Iraq. Its speed and arms will let it track and kill moving targets able to elude a Predator, said Brig. Gen. James Poss, director of intelligence for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va…
The Reaper carries about the same payload as the F-16 but can stay aloft as much as eight times longer than the F-16, which must refuel about every two hours.
“You’ve got a lot of ammo circling overhead on call for short-notice strikes,” said John Pike, director of the military think tank, Globalsecurity. “It seems like a good idea.”
This thing is nearly a full-blown fighter jet, piloted remotely.
Here’s a video about it, courtesy Air Force Report.