Royal Netherlands Air Force is to receive a four new MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft under a contract announced by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) on 21 March.
Scramble, a Dutch aviation magazine, has reported that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (CA) was awarded a $123 million contract for four MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 UAVs for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force).
The contract involves 100% Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and includes the delivery of Mobile Ground Stations, spares and support equipment. All work will be performed at the General Atomics facility in Poway (CA) and is expected to be completed by 31 December 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.
Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9’s capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.
The remotely piloted aircraft can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide. The entire system can be transported in the C-130 Hercules, or larger aircraft. The MQ-9 aircraft operates from standard U.S. airfields with clear line-of-sight to the ground data terminal antenna, which provides line-of-sight communications for takeoff and landing. The PPSL provides over-the-horizon communications for the aircraft and sensors.