Future of RAF MQ-9 Reaper post-Afghanistan

#1
With the draw down of forces in Afghanistan and even though ISR is absolutely vital there and is likely to remain in situ quite late, has the MoD announced what it intends to do with its MQ-9s post 2014 ?

Are they cleared to fly over the UK or is a Euro-Hawk type of issue coming your way because of flying restrictions against UAVs ?

What are the chances of seeing RAF MQ-9s forward based in friendly nations in Africa for example ? (Kenya, against the Shebab springs quickly to mind)

And if you do not know what to do with them, then there is always the ISR void called the Sahel.....

;-)

Britain’s RAF Buying up to 10 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs
 
#2
#4
Rumour has it that Reaper will be taken on core as your link and this one suggest:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/current-affairs-news-analysis/200879-future-raf-mq-9-reaper-post-afghanistan.html

Why spend money we don't have to buy something like Mantis when we already have Reaper?

A couple of things to think about:

Reaper operations depend on US owned comms links; so every task is subject to de-facto US oversight and approval.

Single engined airframes won't be flying over urban areas in Europe any time soon, nor would Reaper be easy or cheap to certify to operate in civilian airspace at all. If you're happy with out of area ops and training only, crack on.

What we should do is see how much of the expensive systems designed for WK can be reused in a more UK friendly airframe - but different services co-operating for the benefit of the UK ? Like that would ever happen.
 
#5
A couple of things to think about:

Reaper operations depend on US owned comms links; so every task is subject to de-facto US oversight and approval.

Single engined airframes won't be flying over urban areas in Europe any time soon, nor would Reaper be easy or cheap to certify to operate in civilian airspace at all. If you're happy with out of area ops and training only, crack on.

What we should do is see how much of the expensive systems designed for WK can be reused in a more UK friendly airframe - but different services co-operating for the benefit of the UK ? Like that would ever happen.
o_O_t_S - I don't think we'll be spending much on anything and that's the point. I put the wrong bloody link in my post but have corrected it now. The Think Defence article and the comments seem accurate.

Do we have contingency plans to rip out US comms kit and bung our own in? We'd not be worried about diplomacy if it gets to that stage. We may have done something similar in the past.

Do we need urban ops or can we get away with using sims for the urban part? I have no idea of the budget available and future plans but am fairly confident that we aren't going to get more cash. Treasury will be calling the shots for some time and I don't believe cash is available for a new project.

Reaper is a success and it is something that has been paid for, the sums are always going to drive procurement and unless a new a/c could deliver significant advantages it isn't going to happen. Even if it could off them it still isn't going to happen.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
can we use them for maritime patrolling?
 
#7
A couple of things to think about:

Reaper operations depend on US owned comms links; so every task is subject to de-facto US oversight and approval.
Are you 100% positive of that?
'Cos the Seps are using a hell of a lot of bandwidth on other people's assets for drone control generally, admittedly it may not be Reaper. I dunno.
 
#8
Are you 100% positive of that?
'Cos the Seps are using a hell of a lot of bandwidth on other people's assets for drone control generally, admittedly it may not be Reaper. I dunno.
It was designed with shed loads of spare capacity for just this kind of situation - is it a successful PFI?
 
#10
We could get the UK cleared, keep the weapons off them and loan them and the operators to various police forces for a sum, MoD funding blackhole shrinking and operators get practice on real time ops! Just imagine nicking a car and seeing a reaper drone following you?
 
#11
#12
Do I get the £ for a GEMS Idea, We've got a spare Aircraft Carrier, why not bin the F35, and buy a shed load of Reapers.

US Navy launched its first drone from aircraft carrier — RT USA

Pretty sure be easier to launch and a hell of a lot more on board
Because the one we have aren't carrier capable and even if they were, we'd have to convert the carriers to cat and trap.

And a £100 to the man in a dodgy suit.....
Who didn't bother reading the 'Think Defence' link which even has a pretty pictcha

Predator-B-SeaSpray1.jpg
 
#13
I am starting to have dreams of regionalized ISR with FRA Reapers over NW Africa, RAF Reapers over the Boko Haram infested areas of Nigeria and in support of the kenyans against the Shebab and US Reaper covering the "rest" (like Libya)...just the ticket if you ask me but not necessarily the right time to mention it in those Prism times.....
 
#14
Reapers are the 21st century answer to the colonial gunboats of the 1880's.

They allow us to patrol the fuzzies on the cheap, and if the fuzzies get rowdy, they can carry out a cheap, effective and painless punitive raid.
 
#15
Who didn't bother reading the 'Think Defence' link which even has a pretty pictcha
Of course not, it's TD, they make us look sane.
 
#16
#17
We could get the UK cleared, keep the weapons off them and loan them and the operators to various police forces for a sum, MoD funding blackhole shrinking and operators get practice on real time ops! Just imagine nicking a car and seeing a reaper drone following you?
This is the only part of that I don't like.
 
#18
An observation made after the recent ECHR ruling on H&S applying on the battlefield was that this made the stand off that UAS usage gave almost mandatory.

Any in the know able to explain how much of a change to CAA rules will be required?
 
#19
Single engined airframes won't be flying over urban areas in Europe any time soon, nor would Reaper be easy or cheap to certify to operate in civilian airspace at all. If you're happy with out of area ops and training only, crack on.
Would the single engine really be that much of a problem? I know that they allow single engine helicopters over cities but make them stay in specified flight paths, so they have somewhere to autorotate down/crash, and I was under the impression they allowed single engine light aircraft like Cessnas over urban areas. Or was I mistaken? Seem to remember that is was mainly the lack of a decent collision avoidance systems for Euro Hawk that was mentioned as scuppering things, and if push came to shove couldn't the government just give themselves a special dispensation for over the UK usage?
 
#20
Would the single engine really be that much of a problem? I know that they allow single engine helicopters over cities but make them stay in specified flight paths, so they have somewhere to autorotate down/crash, and I was under the impression they allowed single engine light aircraft like Cessnas over urban areas. Or was I mistaken? Seem to remember that is was mainly the lack of a decent collision avoidance systems for Euro Hawk that was mentioned as scuppering things, and if push came to shove couldn't the government just give themselves a special dispensation for over the UK usage?
You're correct, single engined aircraft are constrained, for the details you'll have to trawl the relevant ANO. Whether or not it's a problem depends on the details of what you need to do to get the job done, but hoping you'll be OK isn't what I call planning for success.

Personally I'd see a bigger issue for Reaper as demonstrating reliability equivalent to manned ac (it hasn't done so yet) and getting a CofA sorted out. WK has done this but it cost a lot more and took longer than expected, although this might just be down to the gunners being clueless about aviation and ignoring the difficult bits as long as they could.

As far as collision avoidance - "Sense and Avoid" is the usual phrase, no-one has cracked it yet. I'm sure it will be though. Sometime.

As to waivers, the thought of a Reaper spearing into the Gherkin will make any sensible politician resist signing off on exceptions until they really, really have to. Ditto anyone senior in a light blue suit. They will want to wait until EASA signs it off, which won't be until they are convinced it's "equivalent" to a manned ac.
 

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