General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) intends to provide Ukraine with UAVs of the MQ-9 family, the representative of the company informed Janes.
As the US government announced its intention to supply Ukraine with “heavy strike drones” from General Atomics, the company said it intended to offer the MQ-9 family as part of a broader program to support Eastern Europe, building on a recent MQ-9A Reaper leasing agreement with Poland.
“Poland is in a high state of readiness due to the war in Ukraine, so operational security issues prevent us from discussing numbers of aircraft and many other specifics of this arrangement. We don’t want to undermine the tremendous advantages offered by the MQ-9 family of aircraft by releasing too much information publicly. General Atomics remains committed to supporting the defence of allies and partners in Eastern Europe, to include someday also providing these critical capabilities to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” said a General Atomics spokesperson.
Previously, Joe Biden’s administration planned to sell four MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAVs to Ukraine, which can be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is a more powerful machine. This reconnaissance-strike UAV can climb to a height of up to 15 km, has a range of 1,900 km, and can carry up to 1,700 kg of payload on 7 suspension nodes. For example, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, including the Ninja missile Hellfire R9X, GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition bombs. UAVs with Air-to-Air Stinger missiles were tested (air version of FIM-92 Stinger), Brimstone, and even AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II for hitting air targets.
This is a very powerful UAV that is capable of performing many tasks. So far, the representative of General Atomics says that the supply of such machines to Ukraine is a possibility that the company foresees in the future. But who knows, who knows.
Specifications of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
Crew – 2 at the ground station
Length – 11 m
Wingspan – 20 m
Height – 3.81 m
Empty weight – 2,223 kg
Maximum take-off weight – 4,760 kg
Weight of the fuel – 1,800 kg
Carrying capacity – 1,700 kg
Powerplant – 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop
Power – 900 hp. (671 kW)
Maximum speed – 482 km/h
Cruising speed – 313 km/h
Range – 1,900 km
Endurance – 14 hours
Maximum operating ceiling – 15,420 m
Working altitude – 7,500 m