WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — An armed Reaper drone demonstrated for the first time its ability to strike maritime targets in coordination with other aircraft, the US Air Force said in a statement.
“In addition to this being the first time an remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) squadron hit a maritime target, it was also a chance to integrate with other aircraft including A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-35A Lightning IIs,” the Air Force said on Thursday.
“Through this exercise, the MQ-9 demonstrated its abilities in destroying sea-going targets, integrating and de-conflicting with other aircraft, as well as being able to stay in an area far longer than any other platform,” the US Air Force said.
The Air Force explained the drone is able to stay in a potentially hostile area for hours, and can collect and pass intelligence to other aircraft, which is an especially important capability if the situation “becomes more volatile.”
The MQ-9 Reaper is a high-altitude, high-endurance drone with weapons and surveillance capabilities.