U.S. Air Force taps General Atomics for MQ-9 Reaper production

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 5 November that it had awarded a $263 million contract to the General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Inc. for MQ-9 Reaper production.

According to a statement by DoD, General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a $263,403,355 firm-fixed-price contract for MQ-9 Reaper production.

This contract provides for the production of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft in the fiscal 2018 production configuration.  Work will be performed at Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2021.

Also, DoD noted that this award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $263,403,355 are being obligated at the time of award.

MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF). It is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.

MQ-9 Reaper is faster, larger and has the ability to carry a larger payload than the MQ-1 Predator.

MQ-9 is better equipped than the MQ-1 due to its increased speed, high-definition sensors and the ability to carry more munitions. These combat attributes allow the MQ-9 to complete a wider array of mission sets which can help the Air Force stay prepared in the fight.

The aircraft is highly modular and is configured easily with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. MQ-9 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.

This aircraft has been acquired by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Royal Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the French Air Force, the Spanish Air Force, and soon others.

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