Until now, the Spanish Armed Forces have used unmanned aerial vehicles (UA) for reconnaissance missions.
However, those missions are about to expand, with regard to the four General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 drones, assigned to the 223 Squadron of the 23rd Wing of the Spanish Air Force, based in Talavera la Real (Badajoz).
These drones were acquired by Spain years ago. The first arrived in December 2019, but they were unarmed, although equipped with a modification kit to be able to attach weapon systems to them, in order to be able to use them in attack or close support missions, capabilities that the Reapers of other countries do have.
Armed versions of the Reaper can carry up to 680kg of weaponry, spread across a total of seven weapon racks. This UAV can carry air-to-surface missiles AGM-114 Hellfire, GPS-guided bombs GBU-38 JDAM, laser-guided bombs GBU-12 Paveway II strong> and even AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
Next to these lines we can see Reaper UAV of the US Air Force armed with Hellfire missiles and also with GBU-12 Paveway II bombs (in the case of the image above).
Soon we will be able to see the Spanish Reapers with a similar configuration. The Council of Ministers this Tuesday approved the purchase and integration of Hellfire missiles and their associated equipment. The text refers to this UAV as "Predator", the nickname given to the MQ-1, predecessor of the MQ-9.
The reference of this acquisition states the following: "The acquisition and integration of these air-to-surface guided missiles in the Predator drones, for an estimated value of 13,395,015 euros, will allow updating and enhancing the capabilities of this weapons system, improving the air-surface capabilities of the Air and Space Army to fulfill the missions entrusted to it, especially in relation to support and protection of the different Units of the Armed Forcesand their personnel in the course of operations."
Photos: Ejército del Aire / Luis Alfonso Hernández Carrón / U.S. Air Force.
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