On November 22, 2022, a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft that is on lease from GA-ASI to India’s Navy completed its 10,000th flight hour in support of India national security missions. The 10,000-flight hour mark has been achieved by two MQ-9As being operated by the Indian Navy during a period of almost exactly two years, with the maiden flight of MQ-9A taking place on November 21, 2020. The MQ-9As are supplied to India by GA-ASI as part of a Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) lease agreement. GA-ASI is the world’s leading manufacturer of RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.
“The Indian Armed Forces have been impressed by the MQ-9A’s over-the-horizon ISR support for surface units and Indian warships, as well as the exceptional endurance and operational availability of the platform. Our MQ-9As have helped the Indian Navy to cover over 14 million square miles of operating area,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue. “.”
The turboprop-powered, multi-mission MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) was developed with GA-ASI funding and first flown in 2001. MQ-9A “Reaper” is a highly sophisticated development built on the experience gained with the company’s battle-proven Predator RPA and is a major evolutionary leap forward in overall performance and reliability. MQ-9As are operated by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. GA-ASI’s newer MQ-9B variant has been acquired by the UK and on order for Belgium. The MQ-9B maritime surveillance configuration (SeaGuardian®) recently began operations in support of the Japan Coast Guard.
MQ-9A is powered by the flight-certified and proven Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, integrated with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC), which significantly improves engine performance and fuel efficiency, particularly at low altitudes. Featuring unmatched operational flexibility, MQ-9A has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS, can operate up to 50,000 feet, and has a 3,850 pound (1746 kilogram) payload capacity. MQ-9A is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads to include: Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Lynx® Multi-mode Radar, multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), laser designators, and various weapons and payload packages.