Since 2007, the MQ-9 Reaper RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) has been on the front lines of the war on terror. It scored its first kill in October ’07, and has served a crucial role ever since. On Monday, the National Museum of the Air Force officially unveiled its new MQ-9 Reaper exhibit.
The MQ-9 Reaper is the Predator’s bigger, nastier cousin. At 36 feet long, and with a 66 foot wingspan, the Reaper features a 900 shaft horsepower turboprop engine (dwarfing the Predator's 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine) and a max payload of 3,750 lbs (vs. the Predator’s 450). The Reaper can climb to 50,000 feet, and has a max range of 3,682 miles. With a cruising speed of 230 MPH, this amounts to 14-16 hours in the air. The Predator chugs behind at 84 mph (up to 135 mph), with a max range of only 454 miles.
The Museum will feature one of the two pre-production YMQ-9s (serial number 02-4002) sent to Afghanistan. In four years, it flew 3,266 combat hours and 254 combat sorties. The Reaper will be displayed near the RQ-4 Global Hawk (surveillance craft) in the museum's Modern Flight Gallery.