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MQ-9A Reaper provides overwatch for SOF freefall training

18th February 2022 - 12:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A soldier in the 7th Special Forces Group leaps from the back of an aircraft. (Photo: US Army/Capt Jacqueline Whitt)

US Army SOF freefall parachute training was supported for the first time by overwatch from an MQ-9A Reaper UAS.

A General Atomics-owned MQ-9A Reaper supported recent military freefall parachuting exercises conducted by US Army SOF, in a novel use for the uncrewed aircraft.

The exercises took place on 20-21 January and 27-28 January but General Atomics only revealed its involvement on 17 February.

The MQ-9 was deployed from Yuma Proving Ground. General Atomics provided a live video stream from the UAS to soldiers and airmen at Eglin AFB, which allowed remote monitoring of the freefall exercises by the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

In addition to the overwatch function for the SOF personnel, General Atomics stated that the exercise provided an opportunity its aircrews to train on ‘real-world’ maneouvres and tactics ‘that will allow them to better support future DoD operations’.

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