General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) was awarded a contract for eight MQ-9A Extended Range (ER) Unmanned Aircraft Systems as part of the ARES Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (ID/IQ) contract on May 27, 2022. GA-ASI anticipates awards later this year for Ground Control Systems (GCS), spares, and Ground Support Equipment as part of the first increment of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) Program of Record. GA-ASI will begin first delivery of aircraft and support equipment this winter to facilitate the fleet standup in late summer 2023 for U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3 located at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. As part of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 efforts, VMU-3 will operate these MQ-9A ERs with their unique sensors and network capabilities to support training for the Marine Littoral Regiment.
The MQ-9A Extended Range (ER) is designed with field-retrofittable capabilities such as wing-borne fuel pods and reinforced landing gear that extends the aircraft’s endurance to more than 30 hours, while further increasing its operational flexibility. It provides long-endurance, persistent surveillance capabilities, with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Mode Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A ER is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.
“We look forward to rapid deployment of these MQ-9A ERs for our USMC customer,” said GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development, Patrick Shortsleeve. “This capability will be a key ISR contributor for the Marine Air Ground Task Force – and ultimately for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command – as we pace ourselves to outmaneuver our adversaries.”
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® UAS series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. General Atomics is an American energy and defense corporation headquartered in San Diego, California, specializing in research and technology development. This includes physics research in support of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion energy. The company also provides research and manufacturing services for remotely operated surveillance aircraft, including the Predator drones, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless, and laser technologies.