Future Trends

US Air Force Lands Reaper Drone on Dirt Strip During Training Exercise

MQ-9 Reaper drone

US Air Force Lands Reaper Drone on Dirt Strip During Training Exercise

An MQ-9 Reaper drone made its first landing on a dirt strip during an Air Force Special Operations Command training exercise on June 15.

Lt. Col. Brian Flanigan, director of operations for the 2nd Special Operations Squadron, said having Reaper touch down on locations other than paved runways is a significant achievement for airmen because the capability will not limit the drone’s deployment to areas where there are traditional runways or line-of-sight antennas used to take off and land the aircraft.

In May, the MQ-9 Reaper performed its first highway landing in Wyoming. Breaking away from traditional takeoff and landing sites is part of the U.S. military’s effort to maintain its readiness in case of conflicts, during which runways could be destroyed, Business Insider reported.

At the AFSOC exercise, the Air Force also explored how the drone can support ground troops beyond its existing uses. The Reaper was equipped with a travel pod to assess its capability to resupply soldiers in austere locations.

According to Flanigan, the MQ-9 has limited capacity but it can deliver critical items such as an aircraft part or a blood supply for casualties.

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Category: Future Trends

Tags: Brian Flanigan Business Insider Future Trends MQ-9 Reaper US Air Force