The Drive: MQ-9 Reaper can defend itself with air-to-air missiles
The recent incident with the fall of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone into the waters of the Black Sea prompts reflection on whether this drone is capable of defending itself in the event of an air battle. The Drive wrote about the missile armament of the UAV.
When performing combat missions, the MQ-9 Reaper can be armed with AIM-9X air-to-air missiles with infrared seeker with visualization. One of the variants of the missile block is equipped with a data transmission channel, which makes it possible to block it after launch. Under certain circumstances, the AIM-9X can also hit ground and surface targets.
In particular, the ability of the drone to use these missiles was demonstrated in tests. In 2017, the MQ-9 Reaper successfully shot down a target drone in this way, and in 2020, the UAV, using the AIM-9X, hit the BQM-167 drone.
Along with this, there are self-defense pods for the Reaper, providing electronic and disposable countermeasures, as well as spherical situational awareness of threats. The capsule was designed primarily to counter ground air defenses, but it can be used in conjunction with the AIM-9X - at least for awareness purposes.
Thus, as the publication points out, the MQ-9 Reaper has the ability to defend itself in air combat if the above-mentioned weapons are installed on board.
- Photos Used: US Air Force