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The combat-tested Air Force Reaper drone can attack terrorists, destroy enemy tanks and target fixed infrastructure with precision-guided Hellfire missiles. It can even find high-value targets and quickly network warzone video and data to decision-makers on the ground. But what about air-to-air combat? Welcome to the future. The Reaper is about to become a “fighter plane.”
The MQ-9 Reaper has now successfully destroyed a drone cruise missile target with the well-known and highly effective AIM-9X precision air-to-air missile. The AIM-9X fires from the F-35 as well as the F-22 and has in recent years been upgraded with improved precision-guidance technologies and “off boresight” targeting, enabling pilots to destroy enemy targets behind the aircraft. This is quite significant, as “off-boresight” technology can actually guide the AIM -9X to turn around and change course while in-flight using a pilot’s helmet-mounted cueing system. This massively expands the Reaper’s target envelope.
The article goes on to state the following:
“Sept. 3, 2020, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The MQ-9 successfully employed a live air-to-air test of an AIM-9X Block 2 missile against a target BQM-167 drone simulating a cruise missile,” an Air Force report said.
“This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power competition and support the National Defense Strategy.”
— Air Combat Command (@USAF_ACC) September 15, 2020
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