Future Trends

Texas ANG’s 147 ATKW Receives MQ-9 Reaper With Data, Communications Upgrades

Unmanned aerial vehicle

Texas ANG’s 147 ATKW Receives MQ-9 Reaper With Data, Communications Upgrades

The Texas Air National Guard’s 147th Attack Wing has expanded its arsenal with a Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle with upgrades that enable rapid mission adaptability.

The Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper includes upgrades to its communications systems, data links and sensors. The enhancements improve range, endurance and effectiveness, ultimately allowing the 147 ATKW to operate with enhanced precision and agility, quickly adapt to changing missions and maintain a strategic edge in complex scenarios.

The MQ-9, developed by General Atomics, is designed primarily for ISR missions but can perform precision airstrikes and other missions, DVIDS reported.

The Reaper has been subject to several upgrades and tests to improve its effectiveness.

In June, CesiumAstro received a $3.6 million AFWERX contract to install a satellite communications payload on the MQ-9A and demonstrate its capability to enable high-throughput connectivity. Wayne Phelps, director of business development at CesiumAstro, said satcom capabilities ensure that warfighters are always connected.

In the same month, the U.S. Air Force tested the drone’s ability to land on an unpaved surface. Operators were able to land the Reaper on a dirt strip, validating its ability to operate where traditional runways may be hard to come by.

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Category: Future Trends

Tags: 147th Attack Wing Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper DVIDS Future Trends ISR Texas Air National Guard unmanned aerial systems