MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during a local training mission June 9, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Ridgeway)
A few recent articles on military drones: New US variations in use, shootdown of military drones in combat zones, anti-drone technology, and increasing exports of Chinese drones.
My observation: the military drone arms race is on.
7/2/17 – UPI – New Reaper drone variant performs first combat mission – The first in a new series of MQ-9 Reaper drones flew its first combat mission. Referred to as the Block 5, the drone dropped a precision bomb (GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions) and fired two missiles (AM-114 Hellfire).
Oddly, the article says targets were ISIS positions but does not identify the country where the strike took place.
USAF Staff Sgt. aircraft armament systems specialist inspects an MQ-9 Reaper at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan Aug. 18, 2014. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)
6/8/17 – Wall Street Journal – American Pilot Shoots Down Armed Drone in Syria – A drone, described as Predator-style, was shot down by a U.S. pilot after the drone fired on a patrol by forces the US supports.