The Air Force said Thursday afternoon that it is flying its new hunter-killer unmanned aerial vehicle, the MQ-9 Reaper, in Southwest Asia. The UAV has completed 12 close air support and ISR missions since it began flying in Afghanistan on Sept. 25. The Reaper can carry more weapons and has nine times the range of its smaller brethren the MQ-1 Predator. Like the Predator, deployed crews maintain, launch, and recover the Reaper and US-based crews fly the missions. Pilots and sensor operators with the newly reactivated 432nd Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., operate the Reaper.
An Air Force C-17 transport jet recently tested a new technology that could help aviators stay on course even if the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) that much of modern-day aviation relies on is compromised.