The US Marine Corps is getting some much-needed range on their scouting abilities, thanks to a new order of extended range Reaper UAVs.
One USMC unit will be receiving the eight MQ-9A Reaper unmanned air vehicles from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.
The purchase was reported on July 17 in a press release.
According to FlightGlobal, the UAVs will go to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii, where they will support the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR).
The USMC’s acquisition reflects their changing force and potential future missions in the Pacific, with China as the most likely adversary.
In a statement, the USMC said that the new drone units will be “organized, trained, and equipped to support sea control and sea denial operations in actively contested maritime spaces”.
The drones are entering service right as several helicopter units are being divested to make the USMC a little more lean and oriented towards their original maritime ground force role.
The units affected include three heavy-lift Sikrosky CH-53E Super Stallion squadrons, three medium-lift tiltrotor Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey squadrons and two light attack squadrons that fly the Bell AH-1W Super Cobra and Bell UH-1Y Venom.
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