Four Aircraft and Mobile GCS to be Delivered
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has completed the first MQ-9A Block 5 remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA) and associated ground control station (GCS) for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), the company announced on 7 July. The aircraft was rolled out at GA-ASI headquarters in Poway, CA and simulcast to the Netherlands.
The aircraft will begin acceptance testing in California early next year, and is scheduled to be delivered to the Netherlands soon after. The applicable Foreign Military Sales agreement includes four aircraft and four mobile GCS, along with associated support equipment.
“With millions of hours of proven performance under its wings, the MQ-9 is ideally suited to support [the Netherlands’] ISR needs. The Netherlands now joins the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain as NATO countries operating our advanced RPAs, with Belgium coming online in the next few years,” commented Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO.
Offering significant operational flexibility, the MQ-9A Block 5 features endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It has a 1,746kg payload capacity, including 1,361kg carried externally. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with full-motion video and synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator/maritime radar functionality. An extremely reliable aircraft, it comes with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.