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US Air Force Researching Placing Air to Air Missile on the Reaper UCAV

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posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 07:14 AM
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The US Air Force (USAF) is looking to equip its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) with an air-to-air missile (AAM) capability for the first time.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Medium Altitude UAS Division disclosed on 7 March that it intended to award the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) a sole-source contract for the development of MQ-9 Reaper Air-to-Air Missile (RAAM) Aviation Simulation (AVSIM) as the first step in the process of fielding such a capability.

No details as to the type or capabilities of the proposed AAM were disclosed, neither were proposed development and fielding timelines or contract values.


www.janes.com...

To be honest, I am not so sure this is a worthwhile use of money.

The reason being the Predator used to carry the Stinger missile and back in the 90s the Iraqis easily ate one. In fact, when the Predator fired its missile, it felt more like a mouse was flipping off an eagle. The results now would not be much different. The only use I can see is if they are planning on using the AAM against helicopters. Even then, that seems mildly dubious to me as being terribly useful.

Furthermore, the days of being able to use the Reaper in conflict are probably numbered: the last 25 years of trouncing around the world unopposed are coming to a close with Russia and China getting on their feet. The Reaper can only really be used in an unopposed environment and with dollars being limited in the budget...




posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 07:22 AM
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a reply to: anzha

It does beat dropping a 2,000 pound bomb on a rotor hub. Or being so fast you can't identify them properly and you end up killing your own guys.



posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 07:26 AM
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a reply to: anzha

The advantage of drones is hang time. They are light, fuel efficient flying weapons platforms for loitering over target areas.

Read that slow moving targets. Vulnerable in a hostile environment. Thats the problem with many US weapons systems. They behave with seeming impunity. As yet, nobody is shooting back, much.



posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 07:27 AM
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a reply to: anzha
Yeah the MQ-9s should not operate in contested airspaces period. But just because the Stinger failed once on the Iraqi MiG-25 doesnt mean it would never work. The main issue with the Predators firing Stinger as i recall was lack of situational awareness in the air to air Environment. Dont see that changing with the MQ-9, even if they use different Missiles (AIM-9X?).



posted on Mar, 8 2018 @ 08:00 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Such development is always done in stages.
First you prove the concept will work. Then you scale up both the delivery system and the active system in minor steps.
Once you reach some limiting factor you can either back down or do some "work-arounds" to make further improvements.
Small steps are easier and will render far more information than an all out program.



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