US MQ-9 Reaper Program Terminated by Air Force

US MQ-9 Reaper Program Terminated by Air Force

Initially, Tyndall Air Force Base was set to host an MQ-9 reaper wing, but the plans have been put on hold.

The United States Air Force has discontinued the MQ-9 reaper unmanned aircraft program.

Bay Defense Alliance president Tom Neubauer thinks the Air Force has a good reason.

"What we do know is that the Air Force is making decisions based on the national defense strategy and always makes decisions that are best for the Air Force and best for the nation," Neubauer said. “Changing the RPA platform to something more sophisticated is good for the Air Force and good for our community."

MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft have gathered intelligence and killed terrorists in airstrikes worldwide for over 20 years.

The government, however, believes it will no longer be able to defend itself against new air defense technology developed by nations such as Russia and China.

They're exploring more advanced options.

Neubauer said the Air Force decided to look at all the new technologies that might affect RPA platforms. There are so many out there, they decided it might be best not to create another base, another wing, and pursue these additional technologies.

Future generations of remotely piloted aircraft and robotic systems may eventually replace Tyndall's MQ-9 aircraft in providing air support to its 5th generation combat fighter pilots.

Neubauer said that Tyndall might be seen as a perfect location for the next RPA, Neubauer said.

According to Neubauer, it may be five or more years before Tyndall sees any tangible results of a new program.

Tyndall is still on schedule to welcome three F-35 squadrons, with the first arriving in 2023.