US Marines receive new MQ-9A Reaper drone

US Marines receive new MQ-9A Reaper drone

U.S. Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Training Squadron 2, under the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, has initiated the assembly of 2nd MAW’s inaugural MQ-9A Reaper.

The Marine Corps said in a release that led by Lt. Col. Michael Donlin, VMUT-2 is transitioning to become the MQ-9A Fleet Replacement Squadron, tasked with training Marine Corps’ MQ-9A pilots and sensor operators to the highest standards. The parts for the aircraft were delivered to VMUT-2, known as the “Night Owls,” at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, in March, making 2nd MAW the final recipient of the MQ-9A Reaper.

The MQ-9A Reaper, an Extended Range Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MUX) Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) Medium-Altitude, High-Endurance (MALE) aircraft, is equipped with advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. With a range exceeding 1,600 miles and the ability to operate for over 20 hours, the MQ-9A enhances the Marine Corps’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance efforts.

The MQ-9A Reaper will support various Marine Corps operating concepts, including distributed maritime operations and littoral operations in a contested environment. The assembly of this aircraft signifies a milestone in 2nd MAW’s unmanned aircraft systems support for future operational strategies and represents VMUT-2’s ongoing transition from the RQ-21A Blackjack platform.

Commander Donlin commended the dedication of the maintenance department and program office in swiftly and safely assembling these aircraft, emphasizing the unwavering commitment of the “Night Owls” to their mission.


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