British armed forces to use MQ-9 Reaper UAV for surveillance missions in Syria and Iraq 2310144
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Military Defense Industry Technology - British MQ-9 Reaper UAV
|Thursday, October 23, 2014 11:05 AM|
|British armed forces to use MQ-9 Reaper UAV for surveillance missions in Syria and Iraq.|
Last week, the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, announced that the UK’s Reaper drones would be deployed in Iraq to support the coalition’s efforts against Isil – and yesterday, he confirmed that they would also be flying surveillance missions over Syria. These are the first operational uses of such drones outside Afghanistan. And they represent a significant – and timely – development in the Government’s approach to “drone warfare”. (Source The Telegraph)
A Reaper MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operated by 39 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, awaits take off from Creech Air Force Bace, Nevada prior to a training mission over the west coast of America. (Source image British Ministry of Defence)
|With operations in Afghanistan drawing to a close, questions had been asked about what would happen to the 10-strong Reaper fleet currently operating against the Taliban. The Iraqi government’s request for air support to push back Isil has now given us the answer. |
The decision to deploy drones alongside the RAF’s manned aircraft will draw fire from commentators, campaigners and some politicians. Drones are a highly controversial weapons system. The public debate has been dominated by the – hotly disputed – number of civilian casualties resulting from their use by the US in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, leading to criticism of the ethical and legal acceptability of using drones for targeted killings beyond the battlefield.
The Reaper was purchased as a British Ministry of Defence urgent operational requirement (UOR) to provide an all-weather, persistent [link not available], Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability 24 hours a day. The first aircraft in RAF service was delivered to Afghanistan in October 2007. Within 6 months of use the requirement to strike at fleeting targets and provide Land Forces with CAS was quickly realised. The UK’s Reaper fleet began armed-ISR mission in May 2008.
A British Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) from 39 Squadron, makes its approach to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan following a mission. (Source image British Ministry of Defence)
The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured (UAV) by the U.S. Company General Atomics. This UAV is capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations. The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets.