General Atomics Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a $305,188,639 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Reaper (MQ-9) contractor logistics support. This contract provides for program management, contractor filed service representative support, depot repair, depot maintenance, sustaining engineering support, supply and logistics support, configuration management, tech data maintenance, software maintenance and inventory control point/warehouse support for the MQ- 9. Work will be performed in Poway, California, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2022. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8577-21-C-0001).
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF). The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier General Atomics MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The greater power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at about three times the speed of the MQ-1.
The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS), including weapons employment. In 2008, the New York Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing began the transition from F-16 piloted fighters to MQ-9A Reapers, becoming the first fighter unit to convert entirely to unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) use. In March 2011, the U.S. Air Force was training more pilots for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles than for any other single weapons system. The Reaper is also used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the militaries of several other countries. The USAF operated 195 MQ-9 Reapers as of September 2016, and plans to keep the MQ-9 in service into the 2030s.