The MQ-9 Reaper Drone is an military armed, multi-use, medium altitude and long range drone primarily used by the USAF, built under a contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and first introduced/used in May 2007. Its primary purpose is to attack targets with high precision and accuracy. Other purposes includes intelligence, surveillance and air support.
The MQ-9 is powered by a turboprop engine producing at maximum 900 shaft horsepower, and has a range of about 1850km. It can be either remotely operated by hand or can be set for autonomous flight. The MQ-9 utilises the Multi-Spectral Targeting System for its visual system as well as identification of targets. A laser rangefinder/designator is used with in conjunction with laser-guided munitions by designating a target for it to be fired at.
With the introduction/use of the Reaper, less manned aerial units are required, thus minimising the manpower/resources required for a flight mission, and less personnel required on the ground.