Meet the US MQ-9 Reaper drone that took out Iranian top security and intelligence commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The airstrikes, which targeted the car ferrying the General with pinpoint accuracy as he was leaving Baghdad airport, was authorized by Trump.
The airstrikes comes 7 months after Iran shot down a US Global Hawk surveillance drone. The highly advanced spy drone cost the United States $220 million, or ₦79 billion.
Let’s take a look at the deadly capabilities of the United States’ MQ-9 Reaper drone:
The MQ-9 Reaper system is a multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance” aircraft that is designed to attack time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision. It can also destroy or disable those targets.
The 4,900-pound drone, which became operational in 2007, has a wingspan of 66 feet. It has a range of 1,150 miles and the ability to fly at altitudes of 50,000 feet. The Reaper has a cruising speed of roughly 230 mph.
The near-silent drone is operated remotely by a pilot, a sensor operator and a Mission Intelligence Coordinator. It can also conduct surveillance, assist in search and rescue missions. The drone also allows US forces to conduct irregular warfare operations.
The Reaper has an endurance of 30 hours when conducting ISR missions. It decreases to 23 hours if it is carrying a full weapons load.
As of September 2015, the Air Force had 93 MQ-9 Reaper drones in its arsenal. Each of these drones costs $15.9 million, or ₦5.7 billion.
The laser-guided missile that was fired by the Reaper during the mission in Iraq is AGM-114 Hellfire Missile. Each of these missiles cost USD117,000 (₦42.5 million).
In October 2012, the U.S ordered 24,000 Hellfire II missiles, for both the U.S. armed forces and foreign customers.