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Unearthing the Vast Capabilities and One Critical Weakness of the American March Culpable of Plunging into the Black Sea

A major incident occurred two days ago after a Russian Sukhoi-27 fighter jet collided with a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. America said US forces had to abandon the march in international waters.

General James P. Hecker, a senior military official who oversees Air Force operations in the region, said in a statement that the aircraft was “conducting routine operations in international airspace” when it was hit by a Russian SU-27, calling it a “dangerous and dangerous act.” occupation by the Russians.

This incident sheds light on this type of gear and the work it does. What is this march and what are its advantages and disadvantages, if any?

High technological specifications

According to American reports, the “MQ-9” Reaper drone is among the most modern American drones, possesses high technological specifications, and can perform a variety of battlefield missions.

This aircraft is an updated version of the MQ-1 Predator introduced in the nineties of the last century, and is in capable of carrying out monitoring, surveillance, espionage, search and rescue missions, and is also in capable of attacking ground targets and uses a missile launcher in Field Combat.

The US Air Force has contracted General Atomics to build more than 360 Reaper aircraft since the program began in 2007, each costing about $30 million, according to a Congressional Research Service report last year.

Missions on Iraq and Afghanistan

Reports indicate that these aircraft “have flown missions over Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries, and are operated remotely by two teams from two bases out of 20 in 17 states, one of which leads the mission and controls the drone, while the other operates the sensors and directs the weapons.”

The aircraft can carry eight laser-guided missiles, 16 Hellfire missiles and up to 1,300 pounds (590 liters) of fuel. This allows it to hover in air for 1,150 miles (1,850 km) and fly up to 50,000 feet.

Some reports said this march was used to assassinate the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad, and was also used to assassinate al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital.

Designed for long journeys

The New York Times stated that “the Reaper drone can reach speeds of 275 miles (442 km) per hour and is designed for long flights, with some models in able to fly up to 34 hours.

“Although the Reaper can drop bombs and launch missiles, its slow speed and lack of defensive weaponry make it relatively easy to shoot down,” he noted.

And the US network “NBC News”, quoting officials, said that the United States is studying the possibility of recovering the wreck of the march, but the Russian military can reach the march before any other American ship.

In December 2021, the general in United States Marine Corps retiree Kenneth McKenzie described the aircraft on “Fox News” as “can’t stand up to top adversaries.”

And there was information that the Pentagon had begun diligently looking for a replacement for him.

Easy aerial target

Experts in the field of air defense told the newspaper “Russian Weapons” that the drone in the skies over Ukraine would become an excellent air target. It will be detected and destroyed by any Russian fighter. It will not become a problem for military air defense systems like Tor or Buk, in particular to the S-300, and the Reaper is vulnerable to electronic warfare systems.

Training to operate the MQ-9 in the US Army takes a full year, but even this period does not guarantee success, as in media information has been circulating that since 2011 alone, the Pentagon has lost 12 of these aircraft. Where only 4 have fallen, and 8 have been lost due to the errors of those who control them.

According to the media Russians, the Reaper will become an expensive and almost useless toy in the hands of the untrained Ukrainian military.


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