September 05, 2009
The United States is set to deploy the Reaper on an anti-piracy mission based in the Seychelles. And, one hopes, a skull and crossbones stencil.
It's not firepower but endurance that is needed to prevail over pirates. Ships can survey only a tiny swath of the sea, and previous ship-launched drones and land-based manned aircraft lack the Reaper's capacity to remain aloft for up to 14 hours. The drone's 66-ft. (20 m) wingspan can launch the 5-ton aircraft on missions covering more than 3,000 miles (about 4,800 km). "This makes it an ideal platform for observing the vast ocean and maritime corridors in the Indian Ocean region and assisting in counterpiracy efforts," Crawley says.
Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 5, 2009 10:03 AM