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Defense and Intelligence

Marine Corps to Fit Stealth Pods Into Reaper Drones

Drone detection

Marine Corps to Fit Stealth Pods Into Reaper Drones

The U.S. Marine Corps will make it harder for adversaries to detect its MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems by integrating a piece of equipment that could counter enemy sensors.

In a Brookings Institution event on Tuesday, Gen. Eric Smith, the service’s commandant, said the Marine Corps plans to install high-tech pods capable of mimicking objects and sending such information back to enemy sensors, creating a black hole as a result.

The Marines’ Reaper drones are 36 feet long with a 66-foot wing span, capable of up to 27 hours of flight, flying at an altitude of 50,000 feet and carrying a payload capacity of 3,000 pounds, DefenseScoop reported.

The UAS deployed by the military branch in the Indo-Pacific region is meant primarily for communications and data relay, electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Its use at the Marine Corps significantly differs from when the drones were used as a “terrorist hunter-killer” in the U.S. Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency.

When asked whether the Reaper drones will replace humans, Smith emphasized the need for an individual to oversee the sensor operations, responsible for monitoring its activities and maintenance.

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