Incoming! Facts and Figures on the Reaper Drone

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Air Force Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

An MQ-9 Reaper takes off from Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan.

Drones are one of the most exciting innovations to come along in warfare in the last 20 years. But as we saw when the Pentagon recently decided to ground part of its new Global Hawk fleet in favor of Eisenhower-era U-2 manned aircraft, they’re not always the wonder weapons some believe. This week on Battleland, weapons pro Winslow Wheeler kicks the tires of the MQ-9 Reaper and, well, finds it lacking.

Wheeler spent 30 working for Congress on both sides of the aisle, as well as at the Government Accountability Office. He’s one of the shrewdest around when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff about new weapons systems. Check out his work, starting here Monday, with a new segment arriving bright and early each day through Friday. Even though it’s an Air Force program, it’s bound to make some waves.