My Review and Build of Italeri's 1/72 scale KIT #1320,
USAF MQ-9 Reaper Armed combat UAV

MQ-9 Reaper UAV

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (which was intially named the Predator B as it resembles a larger version of the Prdator drone) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations and combat primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF). The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. In 2006, the then–Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force said: "We've moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper."

The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier General Atomics MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine (compared to the Predator's 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine). The greater power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at about three times the speed of the Predator. The Reaper is monitored and controlled by aircrew in a Ground Control Station (GCS), including engagement with weapons.

In 2008, the New York Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing began the transition from F-16 piloted fighters to MQ-9 Reapers, becoming the first fighter squadron conversion to an all–unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) attack squadron. In March 2011, the U.S. Air Force was training more pilots for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles than for any other single weapons system. The Reaper is also used by the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, NASA, and the militaries of other countries, like the Royal Air force. The USAF plans to keep the MQ-9 in service into the 2030s

MQ-9 official specifaltions include:

Crew: 0 onboard, 2 in ground station
Length: 36 ft 1 in (11 m)
Wingspan: 65 ft 7 in (20 m)
Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Empty weight: 4,901 lb (2,223 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 10,494 lb (4,760 kg)
Fuel capacity: 4,000 lb (1,800 kg)
Payload: 3,800 lb (1,700 kg) Internal: 800 lb (360 kg)
External: 3,000 lb (1,400 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop, 900 hp (671 kW) with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC)
Maximum speed: 300 mph; 260 kn (482 km/h)
Cruising speed: 194 mph; 169 kn (313 km/h)
Range: 1,151 mi; 1,852 km (1,000 nmi)
Endurance: 14 hours fully loaded
Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
Operational altitude: 25,000 ft (7.5 km)
Armament: 7 hardpoints
- Up to 1,500 lb (680 kg) on the two inboard weapons stations[
- Up to 750 lb (340 kg) on the two middle stations
- Up to 150 lb (68 kg) on the outboard stations
- Up to 4 AGM-114 Hellfire air to ground missiles can be carried or four Hellfire missiles and two 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs.

The 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) can also be carried. Testing is underway to support the operation of the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile.

In March 2014, MBDA successfully test fired a dual mode Brimstone missile from a Reaper aircraft on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence and Royal Air Force.[163]

The Reapers are expected to serve well into the 2030s.

Introduction and What's in the Box - August 20, 2016

This Italeri kit comes in a beautifully illustrated box. It also has great pictures on the back of the box that depict various configurations and groups to which the NQ-9 is deplyed, Inside, the the aircraft and the poieces are very well molded and detailed.

You can build the aircraft with the wheels down, or retracted into the fuselage.

Decal numbers and details are included for three different aircraft, including a Royal Air force version. I am choosing trhe USAF 432nd Air Wing.

The hull does have some really nice surface detail along both sides, including the bilge keels.

There are a lot of good details for the model and it comes with four Maverick missiles and two large GBU laser guided bombs for armament.

The instructions are very well done as are the depictions of each of the aircraft depictions...and decals for each. The decals set in particular are very detaied.

Finally, there are a couple of areas where the instructions do not call out the location of some of the parts at all, for example with the torpedo tubes, which it shows being assembled in a sub-assembly bullet, but then does not show where they should be placed.

As stated, he decals include names for ten different vessels. I intend to go ahead an build the The Sullivans, DDG-68. for me, the history of the name and those brothers is just too compelling not too.

All in all, a decent kit that should build into a very good model.

Here are the initial parts out of the box.

The Build - Building the fueselage, adding the engine and wheels, building the armament - August 20, 2016

I painted the entire model in the various colors called out before starting assemble. I then added the wings to the lower fuselage and glued the upper fuselage to it:

I then added the engine assembly and the landing gear assemblies. At this point it was time to build the weapons, which concists of four Hellfire Missiles and two GBU 500 lb lase guided bombs. Here's how that looked:

Looking good.

The Build - Adding the weapons to the aircraft, the sensors - August 21, 2016

Now it was time to add various sensors to the aircraft and to attach the weapons to the mounting points which alsoo were added at this point. There are two pilons under each woing, with the outer pylons capable of carrying two Hellfire missiles each.

Here's how they all looked when added to the aircraft.

The Build - Adding the decals and doing the touchup. - August 21, 2016

There are a lot of decls for the model...and they really set it off. I decided to build the 432nd Airwing aircraft. You could also build a New York aircraft or a Royal Air Foce version.

Here's how the decals looked when completed:

She's looking pretty good.

The Build - Completing the model - August 22, 2016

At this point I just had to do some touch up and then add a couple of coats of dull coate before doing the final model pics. Here they are:

And some close-up and mpore detailed pics:

A very nice depiction of the MQ-9 Reaper armed UAV.

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - August 22, 2016

  1. By November30, 2016 Buy and complete the Orange Hobby USS HArper's Ferry, LSD-49

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/72 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/72 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Dragon and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, probably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.

The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/72 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Dragon's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/72 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Dragon, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/72 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.

The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/72 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Gallery's 1/72 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/72 scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Bronco Model's 1/72 scale USS Coronado, LCS-4, a Flight IIA US AEGIS class destroyer based on Dragon's 1/72 scale USS The Sullivans, DDG-68, and a Ticonderoga AEGIS cruiser...all of these models which I already own.

The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/72 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its center piece until a 1/72 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/72 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Dragon 1/72 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/72 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/72 scale HMS Trafalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/72 scale HMS Ocean LPD comes out, I will use it to start building a Royal Navy ARG.

The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gaulle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Pearle S606 SSN is released in 1/72 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/72 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/72 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.

The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/72 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Dragon's 1/72 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Dragon’s 1/72 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/72 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/72 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/72 scale Osumi Class LPD be released, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.

Then, finally the Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter, the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Dragon (which I own), two Dragon 1/72 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/72 scale. Sometime in the more distant future when a 1/72 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.

Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemenceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable air wing for the Sao Paulo.

Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimately an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.

Years more worth of work!

You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifications at my site:


Dragon's Fury

Dragon's Fury - World War Against America and the West
: Following great success in the War on Terror, politicians and analysts alike thought that future global conflict was impossible...but they were wrong. Journey into a possible future where Islamic terrorists sharpen their horrific skills & ally with Red China. In such a future, can the U.S. & western civilization survive?
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