General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc Completes First MQ-9A Block 5 for Royal Netherlands Air Force
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc Completes First MQ-9A Block 5 for Royal Netherlands Air Force

US State Department Approves Sale of MQ-9A Block 5 Aircrafts to Royal Netherlands Air Force

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Netherlands of MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $611 million. The Government of the Netherlands has requested to buy up to four (4) MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft; up to three (3) UAV MQ-9 Mobile Ground Control Systems (MGCS); up to thirty (30) Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Internal Navigation Systems (EGI) devices, Airborne, with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) or M-Code; up to eight (8) AN/DAS-4 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems; and up to twenty (20) Lynx AN/APY-8 Synthetic Aperture Radars. The principal contractor will be General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Poway, CA.

Also included are Reaper Engines; Selex Seaspray Synthetic Aperture Radars; SeaVue Maritime Radars; M299 Hellfire Longbow missile launchers; AN/ARC-210 radios; Line-of-Site (LOS) Ground Data Terminals; Ruggedized Aircraft Maintenance Test Stations (RAMTS); AN/APX-119 and other Identification Friend or Foe transponders; KIV-77 Cryptographic Appliques; KY-100M narrowband/wideband terminals; AN/PYQ-10 Simple Key Loaders; satellite communications earth terminal subsystems (SETSS) and spare parts. The MQ-9A aircraft will support Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions as well as Air Attack and Counter Maritime Operation tasks.

Dutch Ministry of Defence to Arm MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. (Photo by Dutch Ministry of Defence)

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 ground control by humans. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. On 24 May 2012, General Atomics conducted the successful first flight of its upgraded MQ-9 Block 1-plus Reaper. The Block 1-plus version was designed for increased electrical power, secure communications, automatic landing, increased gross takeoff weight (GTOW), weapons growth, and streamlined payload integration capabilities. Follow-on aircraft redesignated MQ-9 Block 5.

The Netherlands already has MQ-9A aircraft in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces. On 19 June 2013, General Atomics and Fokker Technologies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to offer the MQ-9 Reaper to the Dutch government for their need of a MALE UAV. The MOU recognizes that Fokker will assist in maintenance and support of the aircraft in the Netherlands if a deal goes through. On 21 November 2013, the Dutch Minister of Defense announced that the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has selected the MQ-9 Reaper Block-V as its new MALE UAV. The Dutch MQ-9 is to have the Synthetic Aperture Radar with the Maritime Search option and also a special ground search radar with more range and electronic sensors to detect ground radar and signals.

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