US Air National Guard Examines Potential Upgrades To MQ-9 Reaper Drone

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th May, 2021) Tests of possible upgrades to older models of the MQ-9 Reaper drone will attempt to allow fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft to communicate with each other, the 174th Attack Wing of the US Air National Guard said on Thursday.

"From May 3-14th, the pods will demonstrate their capabilities onboard a... MQ-9 focusing on a higher level of integration with additional air and ground based assets during Pacific Command's premier exercise, Northern Edge, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska," the Air National Guard said in a press release.

Tests will examine three separate pods, or configurations, for the Reaper, each specializing in a different set of capabilities, the release said.

The pods are designed to help the MQ-9 play a more prominent role in battlefield command and control, including the ability to receive and pass information to and from older fourth generation and newer fifth generation aircraft, the release added.

The tests are funded solely by the Air National Guard since the Guard only operates legacy aircraft, according to the release.