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U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones Deploy to Estonia For The First Time In History

MQ-9 Reapers from 52 EOG Detachment 2, based at Miroslawiec AB, in Poland deployed to Amari Air Base on Jun. 14, 2020, marking the very first time the UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) deployed to Estonia.

The purpose of the deployment is to provide ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions in the Baltic region: a region where several intelligence gathering assets operate every day.

“We are specifically focusing on air, maritime, and land domain,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Hinds, Deputy Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration and the United States Air Forces in Europe and United States Air Forces Africa Air Operations Center Director. “We are gathering requirements from the U.S. European Command and our NATO allies, and then we are going to execute those taskings in coordination with the Estonian Air Force.”

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ROBOTIC FIGHTER JETS COULD SOON JOIN MILITARY PILOTS ON COMBAT MISSIONS

Military pilots may soon have a new kind of wingman to depend upon: not flesh-and-blood pilots but fast-flying, sensor-studded aerial drones that fly into combat to scout enemy targets and draw enemy fire that otherwise would be directed at human-piloted aircraft.

War planners see these robotic wingmen as a way to amplify air power while sparing pilots? lives and preventing the loss of sophisticated fighter jets, which can cost more than $100 million apiece.

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MQ-9 automated landing, takeoff

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) completed the first-ever automated landing of an MQ-9 Block 5 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), followed by the first auto-takeoff. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) developed the automatic takeoff and landing capability (ATLC).

?This new, all-weather capability greatly increases the autonomy, flexibility, combat effectiveness, and safety of the MQ-9 Reaper for the USAF,? says David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.

Auto launch and recovery during critical phases of RPA flight enlarges the operational envelope for cross-wind operations and divert-field landing. The ATLC development program remains on track for fielding in Q4 2019.

AerospaceManufacturingAndDesign.com

This dramatic video shows China’s answer to America’s top combat drone blowing things to bits

The developers of one of China’s newest and most advanced combat drones have released a new video showcasing its destructive capabilities.

The video was released just one week prior to the start of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, where this drone made its debut in 2016.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s CH-5 combat drone, nicknamed the “Air Bomb Truck” because it soars into battle with 16 missiles, is the successor to the CH-4, which many call the “AK-47 of drones.”

BusinessInsider.com

Will drone bases in the near future be staffed by robots?

If there is a poster child for light-footprint counterinsurgency, it?s the MQ-9 Reaper. Flying over vast swaths of territory and launching missiles at small bands of suspected fighters, Reapers require relatively little on-the-ground support compared to what that same coverage would have required decades ago. Little support is not no support, however, and even drone bases take hundreds of people to run, support, and maintain. It?s likely impossible to reduce the human presence at an airbase to zero, but a pair of technologies suggest a way that drone bases could drastically shrink their labor needs.

c4isrnet.com

Marines UAV Crews to Train on Air Force Reapers as Prep for Group 5 UAV Fielding

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. ? The Marine Corps will work with the Air Force to put its Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) crews through Group 5 UAV training to be qualified to operate MQ-9 Reapers. The idea is to help create an infrastructure and a knowledge base on large UAV operations ahead of fielding the Marines? ship-based UAV in the 2020s.

The service is in the early stages of developing a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Expeditionary ? called the MUX ? that would be a similar size to the Reaper but would operate off amphibious and other ships and expeditionary fields without a runway. It is meant to focus on airborne early warning missions as well as command and control, electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

News.USNI.org