The emergence of the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle as a tactical air asset capable of performing in roles formerly done only by manned fighter aircraft is one of the reasons that the Defense Department leadership decided to retire hundreds of Air Force fighters in Fiscal 2010 and halt F-22 production at 187, top DOD officials told reporters during a Pentagon briefing, April 7, 2009. Here, an MQ-9 taxies after landing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2008.
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