Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System
A Royal Air Force Reaper RPAS (Remotely Piloted Air System) at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
904 Expeditionary Air Wing (904 EAW) is responsible for the support and operation of RAF assets at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. As well as delivering hundreds of RAF air mobility movements every year with Hercules C-130J and BAE 146 aircraft, the EAW mounts attack and intelligence missions through its detachments of RAF Tornado GR4 fast jets. The EAW also provides support for a detachment providing launch and recovery of RAF and Reaper remotely piloted air systems.
The Reaper Detachment operates the RAF’s highly capable remotely piloted air systems to supplement other air intelligence platforms with detailed imagery of ground conditions. Reaper’s primary role is to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and this forms the vast majority of its missions.
However, when necessary the aircraft can also deploy precision-guided weapons to support Afghan-led ground forces in contact with the enemy. All Reaper missions are controlled by experienced RAF pilots, whose immediate face-to-face support from intelligence personnel and other operational specialists makes them among the most situationally aware pilots in the world.
The Detachment is also supported by aerospace battle managers and other operational specialists based with 83 Expeditionary Air Group.
© Crown Copyright 2013
Photographer: Sergeant Ross Tilly (RAF)
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