The U.S has added new and additional capabilities to its MQ-9 Reaper fleet.
According to the assistant director of operations at the U.S Air Force 174th Operations Support Squadron, capabilities include battlefield and airspace communications enhancements as well as target identification tracking and processing.
The assistant director of operations explained there are three separate pods; the Freedom Pod, Centerline Avionics Bay Pod and the REAP Pod.
Each pod is manufactured by a contractor which specialises in its unique function, leveraging expertise from previous programmes, say the USAF.
“We are currently doing an operational assessment of new equipment,” the assistant director of operations was quoted as saying here.
“The pods help the MQ-9 play an increased, more prominent role in the command and control arena of the battlefield. It will be able to receive and pass information to and from older fourth generation and newer fifth-generation aircraft.
From May 3-14th, the pods will demonstrate their capabilities onboard a 174TH ATKW MQ-9 focusing on a higher level of integration with additional air and ground based assets during Pacific Command’s premier exercise, Northern Edge, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.”