An interesting picture, shared by the U.S. Air Force, shows a Reaper UAS (Unmanned Air System) on the ground at Kandahar airbase, with two interesting pods.
The image in this post (that we’ve edited to highlight the detail of interest) was released by the U.S. Air Force.
Taken on Aug. 18, it shows MQ-9 Reapers with the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan.
Noteworthy, one of the Reaper drones (that are launched, recovered and maintained from Kandahar and remotely operated by pilots in bases located in the U.S.) carries two Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensors under each wing.
These could be the latest version of the rarely seen before Gorgon Stare (formerly known as the Wide Area Airborne Surveillance System – WAAS), a pod-based sensor package used to track people, vehicles, and objects in areas of +10 square kilometers.
The ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) pod is integrated in a networked imagery distribution system to provide hi-resolution, real-time full motion video of activities of interest.
Usually, a Gorgon Stare system is made of two pods, one carrying networking and communications equipment, the other with Visible/IR Camera Arrays and Image Processing module: interestingly, the MQ-9 shown in the picture carries two seemingly identical pods (with EO/IR turrets).
A new system or just the recently announced Gorgon Stare Increment 2?
Most probably, the second one, even if images released so far show different kind of pods.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force