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Reaper exhibit to open Jan. 25

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper landing in Afghanistan after a mission in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. (U.S. Air Force photo)

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper landing in Afghanistan after a mission in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down an Afghanistan runway Nov. 4, 2007.  
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down an Afghanistan runway Nov. 4, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will have a new addition to its growing collection of remotely piloted aircraft when the world's first permanent public display of an MQ-9 Reaper opens on Jan. 25.

The MQ-9 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with its primary mission to locate and destroy time-critical and highly mobile targets. In addition to this "hunter-killer" mission, the MQ-9 also provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to military commanders.

Larger and more powerful than its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-9 was originally named the Predator B. However, based upon recommendations from units in the field, the US Air Force officially designated it the MQ-9 Reaper to represent its lethal nature. The M stands for multirole, and the Q designates it as a UAS.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Congress directed the Air Force to order two pre-production YMQ-9s for testing. On Oct. 17, 2003, the YMQ-9 Reaper made its first flight from the General Atomics facility in California. Because of the pressing need for a UAS with the Reaper's capabilities, the Air Force sent the two YMQ-9s to Afghanistan in 2005. The production model MQ-9 Reaper made its first flight in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM on Sept. 25, 2007.

The museum's Reaper (serial number 02-4002) is one of the two pre-production YMQ-9s sent to Afghanistan. This aircraft was used for the initial weapons testing, flew 14 missions for the Department of Homeland Defense during October-November 2003, and was the first Reaper to fly in Afghanistan. In four years, it flew 3,266 combat hours and 254 combat sorties.

Like other unmanned aerial vehicles in the museum's collection, such as the Predator and Global Hawk, the Reaper points to the future of the U.S. Air Force.

"This exhibit gets our visitors up close to an aircraft that is serving in current operations in the Middle East," said Museum Director Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles D. Metcalf. "With this addition, the museum continues to tell not only the stories of the past, but also of the present and future."

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.


NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.

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