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USAFE-AFAFRICA demonstrates remote launch, recovery package for Reaper UAV

The SLR-P enables the launch and recovery of the Reaper UAV from austere locations with a much reduced manpower footprint. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) has demonstrated a new package for the remote launch and recovery of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), it announced on 7 September.

The command proved the capability during a technological proof of concept of the Reaper's Satellite Launch and Recovery Package (SLR-P) at the 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Base in Mirosławiec, Poland.

“With this technology, we're putting the ‘A' in ACE [Agile Combat Employment] for the MQ-9A,” Major Philip West, USAFE-AFAFRICA project lead said, referencing the ACE acronym whereby USAFE-AFAFRICA seeks to provide the means to deploy rapidly between dispersed operating locations without sacrificing combat capabilities.

As noted in the USAFE-AFAFRICA announcement, the SLR-P comprises “a small, mobile container with an inventory list finely tuned to address the unique operational requirements and environmental nuances of each specific region. The container, designed to be highly mobile, can be retrofitted with its own wheels to be towed or be carried by any means of available transportation”.

The satellite technology employed by the SLR-P enables the rapid power-up of the Reaper and connectivity with the satellite link, minimising pre-mission preparations, while it also marks a departure from conventional practices that necessitated returning to home stations for basic level maintenance, the USAFE-AFAFRICA said.

A USAFE-AFAFRICA subject matter expert (SME) told Janes

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