U.S. State Department clears $600 million sale of MQ-9B SkyGuardian to Belgium

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale to Belgium of four MQ-9B SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of up to $600 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department approval, disclosed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), covers the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) purchase of four MQ-9B, RPA; twoFixed Certifiable Ground Control Stations; five  AN/DAS-4 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems; fifteen Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI); five AN/APY-8 Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radars; and five Detect and Avoid Systems.

As noted by the DSCA, the proposed sale to Belgium will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Belgium to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.

This potential sale enhances the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the Belgian military in support of national, NATO, United Nation-mandated, and other coalition operations. Commonality of ISR capabilities increases interoperability between the U.S. and Belgian military and peacekeeping forces.

The principal contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., San Diego, California.

According to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, MQ-9B is highly modular and is easily configured with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. The aircraft is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads and includes a state-of-the art Detect and Avoid (DAA) system including space, weight, and power provisions to enable the retrofitting of an airborne Due Regard Radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace.

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