A test team made up of Air Force, Navy, and industry officials conducted the first live drops of a GPS-guided weapon from the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle May 13 at the Navy test range at China Lake, Calif. On that day, the team carried out six successful releases of the GBU-49 munition from the Reaper, with GPS guiding direct hits on targets. The GBU-49 is a 500-pound bomb that features both laser guidance and an on-board GPS kit for all-weather, precision-delivery capability. The Air Force has been flying MQ-9s in combat in Afghanistan since September 2007, employing 500-pound laser-guided bombs in combat as well as Hellfire surface-attack missiles (see below). (Includes Wright-Patterson report by Laura McGowan)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.