The US Air Force (USAF) will receive 24 MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

Reaper MQ-9, which is a larger and more capable version of the MQ-1 Predator UAV, is a medium-to-high altitude UAV primarily designed for reconnaissance and surveillance.

The vehicle can also carry the GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb, the AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missile, air-to-air missiles, as well as the GBU-38 joint direct attack munition (JDAM).

The reaper uses several kinds of sensors, including a thermal camera, and has six stores pylons that can carry a maximum of 4,600lb of weapons and external fuel tanks.

The $148.3m contract has been awarded by the US Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, reports