The U.S. Air Force plans to integrate a system with the General Atomics-built MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle that will work to help the UAV perform take off and land automatically, Flightglobal reported Wednesday.
Chris Pehrson, senior director of strategic development for General Atomics' aeronautical systems business, told Flightglobal reporter James Drew that the auto takeoff and landing platform for Reapers is now ready for deployment.
He added that the service branch has included the plan to implement the system into its five-year program for the drone for fiscal year 2017 after Congress declined to approve a request to field the system with funds from other accounts in 2015.
Air Force Col. Travis Burdine, division chief for remotely piloted aircraft operations at the Defense Department, said the integration of the system with the UAV would help facilitate training of Reaper pilots and provide access to more runways.
“It would allow us to go to other airfields, which we're serious about, and not have to divert because of weather so often,“ Burdine said at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International-hosted Xponential conference Tuesday in New Orleans.