FAQ :: What is the MQ-9 Reaper?

The New York National Guard started launching regular surveillance flights of MQ-9 “Reapers” above the Adirondacks in 2011 to train drone crews for bombing and intelligence missions. Airmen with the 174th Fighter Wing fly the unmanned planes via satellite from command centers at Fort Drum and the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York. These MQ-9 Reapers are military drones.

The Reapers would not carry weapons and would make less noise than the unit’s F-16s that had previously used the mountain airspace for training. Yet they will be equipped with powerful day and night cameras that can focus on random vehicles and locations for training.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) vigorously supports and wants to increase the number of test sites in the country from four to ten. Some patriots oppose the program arguing it could violate the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

Known as “the big eye in the sky,” the MQ-9 has a 66-foot wingspan, can drop 500-pound bombs and stay in the air for more than 15 hours. They are effective in Afghanistan and other places where anti-aircraft fire is minimal. They have killed high-ranking terrorists, but also civilians. The CIA is reportedly using them in Pakistan. [1]

The Obama administration has used the Reaper and other killer drones in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. He also claims he can use them to murder American citizens, but when Rand Paul confronted the president he backed down saying he would not murder innocent Americans in America but would continue to use the drones outside of America. Eventually killer drones may be used routinely to hunt down and murder the so-called “enemies of the state.”

[1] Yusko, Dennis. “‘Big eye’ has Adirondack sights.” 2.12.2011. www.times union.com/local/article/Big-eye-has-Adirondack-sights-1010129.php.