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The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: MQ-9 Reaper

"The Reaper," also known as there MQ-9 unmanned aerial, is shown here on a test mission. (Courtesy photo)

"The Reaper," also known as there MQ-9 unmanned aerial, is shown here on a test mission. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Manufacturer: General Atomics

Function: Remotely Piloted Hunter/Killer

Service Date: 2007

Speed: 230 mph

Crew: Two

Production: 319 (planned)

Inventory: 35 

Commentary: Officially combat-operational in Afghanistan since September 2007, the MQ-9 Reaper is larger than the MQ-1, has eight times the range, and flies twice as high. An unarmed variant is deployed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for customs and border surveillance.

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