General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is an American multipurpose unmanned aerial drone manufactured by General Atomics. Six sorties of MQ-9 Reapers participated alongside General Atomics MQ-1 Predator in the first phase of Operation Yashiori during the climax of the 2016 Toho film Shin Godzilla.
Operation Yashiori was a plan devised by Rando Yaguchi's team to stop Godzilla before the United States could drop a nuclear weapon on him, which would destroy Tokyo in the process. In the first phase of this plan, MQ-9 Reaper drones and MQ-1 Predator drones from the U.S. Air Force base in Yokota launched bombs and missiles at Godzilla. As he did against the earlier Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit attack, Godzilla discharged rays from his dorsal fins in response. During the first four sorties, the drones' weapons were destroyed before they could reach him, and the drones themselves followed soon thereafter. However, this was the point: to trick Godzilla into wasting his energy. After the fourth sortie, Godzilla was no longer able to produce rays from his back, and the fifth sortie's attack hit him with full force. To the surprise of onlookers, he switched to using his oral ray and a second beam from the mouth on his tail, which were able to wipe out the fifth and sixth sorties. After that, Godzilla was forced to cease his counterattack, and the second phase of the plan could begin.
Features and Weapons
- The MQ-9 Reaper's 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine allows it to fly at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.
- The MQ-9 Reaper is fitted with the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which includes an infrared sensor, two TV cameras, a laser range finder, a designator, and a laser illuminator.
- The MQ-9 Reaper can be armed with four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and two GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided smart bombs.
- Although the Reaper resembles its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator, there are some key differences. While both have three tail fins, all three on the MQ-1 Predator point downwards, with one pointing straight down and the other two down at an angle; only one tail fin on the MQ-9 Reaper points straight down with the other two pointing up at a vertical angle.
- The MQ-9 Reaper can also be armed with Joint Direct Attack Munitions, AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, or dual-mode Brimstone missiles though none of the Reapers were armed with such weapons in the film.
- At the time of the film's production and eventual release in 2016, the MQ-9 Reaper could only carry four Hellfire Missiles. As of 2021 a new software program has upgraded the drone to be able to carry and operate up to eight Hellfire missiles as well as use AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
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