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​US State Department Approves MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sale to Royal Australian Air Force


​US State Department Approves MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sale to Royal Australian Air Force

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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc MQ-9B SkyGuardian Unmanned Aircraft System
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc MQ-9B SkyGuardian Unmanned Aircraft System

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.651 billion. This sale will enhance interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The proposed sale improves Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing timely Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition, locate submarine capabilities, and counter-land and counter-surface sea capabilities for its security and defense. Australia is one of U.S. most important allies in the Western Pacific. The principal contractors will be General Atomic Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego, CA; Lockheed Martin Inc., Bethesda, MD; Raytheon Inc., Waltham MA; and Leonardo SpA, Rome, Italy.

The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to twelve (12) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B, Remotely Piloted Aircraft; fifteen (15) Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems-D (MTS-D) EO/IR sensors; sixteen (16) Lynx AN/APY-8 Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) with Ground Moving Target Indicator (GTMI); fifteen (15) RIOTM Communication Intelligence Systems; thirty-six (36) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules (SAASMs); six (6) KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits for 500lb bombs; four (4) MXU-650 Airfoil Groups for 500lb Paveway II GBU-12; seven (7) MXU-1006 Airfoil Groups for 250lb Paveway II GBU-58; four (4) MAU-169 or MAU-209 Computer Control Groups (CCGs) for 250lb/500lb Paveway II GBU-58/GBU-12; six (6) FMU-139 Fuse Systems; twelve (12) MK-82 General Purpose 500lb inert bombs; five (5) High Bandwidth Compact Telemetry Modules (HCTMs).

Australian Defence Force Selects GA-ASI's MQ-9B for Project Air 7003
Australian Defence Force Selects GA-ASI’s MQ-9B for Project Air 7003

Also included are Honeywell aircraft engines; Certifiable Ground Control Stations (CGCSs); mobile Satellite Communication Ground Data Terminals (SGDTs); Leonardo SAGE 750 Electronic Surveillance Measures System (ESM); GATES/RSO/GRMA; Automatic Information System (AIS); ARC-210 radios; AN/DPX-7 IFF transponders; General Dynamics Satellite Communication (SATCOM) antennas and Hughes modems with USG encryption; Leonardo/Selex SeaSpray 7500 maritime radars; KY-100M security voice terminals; KIV-77 Mode 4/5 IFF cryptographic appliques; AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loaders; U.S. Government Certified Encryption Solution; KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminal Link-16; Sierra Nevada Electronic Intelligence System; additional secure communications and cryptographic equipment; MQ-9B training simulator; Hellfire Training Missiles, missile rail kits and integration; M-299 Hellfire Rail Launchers; DSU-38 Laser Illuminated Target Detector for GBU-54; MK-81 General Purpose Bombs 250lb Inert Bombs; other related elements of logistical and program support.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has developed a variant of the Predator® B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) series that meets NATO standards (STANAG-4671), and in cooperation with the FAA, will subsequently meet airworthiness certification standards domestically and around the world. It leverages both the Predator B RPA and Certifiable Ground Control Station (CGCS) as points-of-departure systems and identifies and incorporates the changes needed to achieve a “Type-Certifiable” system. MQ-9B SkyGuardian contains both hardware and software upgrades, such as improved structural fatigue and damage tolerance and more robust flight control software, as well as enhancements allowing operations in adverse weather including icing conditions. A highly modular and is easily configured platform with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements.

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