...AND WHAT IS THE TARANTULA HAWK?
The MQ-9 Reaper is a U.S. remotely controlled, pilotless aircraft commonly known as a drone.
The Reaper drone is the single most numerous, deadliest drone in the world today, attacking in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia and possibly elsewhere.
The Reaper and the smaller Predator drone - hated by those living under them - are responsible for at least 3,000 killings in the countries listed above, but a more accurate figure may be 5,000, if drone killings in Afghanistan are included. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/pakistan-drone-strikes-the-methodology2/
It is impossible to get an accurate count of people killed by the Reaper and Predator because: (1) the drone killings occur in very remote places where there is usually no one to report on the attacks; (2) drone victims are also very often pulverized by the blasts of the drones’ Hellfire missiles, missiles designed for use against armored vehicles; (3) the U.S. will not release records and video-tapes of its drone attacks.
The Reaper has a 66-foot wingspan, is 36 feet long and can carry four Hellfire missiles and two 500-pound bombs. It can fly at 230 mph, powered by a TPF 33i Honeywell turbo prop engine, and it can stay aloft for up to 28 hours, depending on how many weapons it is carrying.
About 250 Reapers have been built, and the U.S. has the goal of producing 400 by 2021. Reapers are flown from 15 bases within the U.S., with at least three more soon to be opened, and from bases in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, the Seychelles and Ethiopia and posssibly elsewhere.
Reapers are being flown by the United Kingdom for attacks in Afghanistan, and armed and unarmed Reapers are being sought by Italy. France is flying Reapers over Niger, and the Netherlands is seeking Reapers, initially unarmed.
The cost of a Reaper drone patrol group of four aircraft is about $120 million, in 2012 dollars. Analysis published by Time magazine finds the Reaper is a relatively expensive system, the use of which cannot be “rationally explained.” http://nation.time.com/2012/02/28/2-the-mq-9s-cost-and-performance/
If we add to the cost of the weapon itself the cost of maintaining and defending drone command centers in the U.S. and overseas, the cost of the drone program could easily reach $100 billion, that is, if anyone is counting.
WHAT IS THE TARANTULA HAWK?
Honeywell manufactures a small RQ-16A surveillance drone called the Tarantula Hawk, or T-Hawk, named after a species of wasp that feeds on tarantula spiders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt1z5x6-uBE
The T-Hawk has been used primarily by U.S. troops from the U.S. and the United Kingdom in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Honeywell is also marketing the T-Hawk to law enforcement agencies.
The T-Hawk has also been used to gather radiation data at the Fukishima nuclear power plants, but the vast majority of T-Hawks are used by the U.S. military.