American defense contractor General Atomics, an affiliate of General Atomics, has been awarded $8,9 million contract for the France MQ-9 Block 1 Weapons integration effort.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, a leading manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft and electro-optic surveillance systems will product and integrate of weapons kits onto the French Air Force MQ-9 Block 1 aircraft.
Work will be performed in Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2020.
The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against dynamic execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset.
Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons – it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.
The aircraft is highly modular and is configured easily with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. MQ-9 Reaper 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 packages.
The unit also incorporates a laser range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9 can also employ four laser-guided , Air-to-Ground Missile (AGM)-114 Hellfire missiles, which provide highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities.