First production multi-domain Reaper UAV takes to the skies
In November 2022, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) flew the first production MQ-9A Multi-Domain Operations (M2DO) variant of the USAF MQ-9A Reaper.
The upgraded version of the MQ-9A Block 5 UAV includes features for enabling integration and deployment of open mission systems and sensors that are set to expand the strategic reconnaissance capabilities of the Reaper.
Known as the MQ-9A Block 5 '-25', the aircraft offers improved power distribution and redundancy, GPS enhancements, radar altimeters, nosewheel steering and an upgraded angle of attack sensor system.
Shephard Defence Insight notes the Reaper can reach a maximum airspeed of 240kt at sea level and climb to a maximum altitude of 50,000ft. When carrying its full complement of 1,769kg of fuel, it can fly for up to 27 hours.
GA-ASI USAF Programmes VP Claudia Mowery said the company was excited to position the MQ-9A toward new missions through the additional capabilities.
Mowery added that future funding could see the M2DO-ready functionality expanded to the entire MQ-9A Reaper fleet.
The USAF and USMC will receive the improved MQ-9A Block 5 '-25' M2DO aircraft under current contracts; however, how many aircraft the services will receive with the improvements has not been disclosed.
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
Twenty-five navies, eight NATO entities and more than thirty companies and universities are currently involved in Robotic Experimentation Prototyping Augmented by Maritime Unmanned Systems Exercise 2023 (REPMUS 23), held off the coast of Portugal until 29 September.
Israeli UAS developer SpearUAV introduced a submarine-launched capsule option for its Viper 750 UAV at DSEI 2023.
The Ukrainian pavilion at DSEI 2023, organised by state-owned Spetstechnoexport, exhibited several indigenous combat-tested systems, including UAVs, USVs and an evacuation vehicle.
Milrem Robotics has now supplied more than 100 of its Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) hybrid UGVs including approximately 15 for service in Ukraine. Lessons learned are continuing to inform the platform’s development, according to the company.
The design selected for the Rotary Wing Uncrewed Autonomous System is best suited for maritime operations.
Reamda is designing a new SWAT version of its Riddler tactical UGV, to be designated Casur which is Irish for hammer, and designing a smaller lightweight version of its controller.