Footage shows an Su-30SM “intercepting” an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over Syria last year.
The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems primarily for the United States Air Force.
The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.
In 2006, the then–Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley said: “We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.”
The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier General Atomics MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s.
The greater power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at about three times the speed of the MQ-1.
The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station, including weapons employment.