General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed the first MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Ground Control Station intended to provide a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar, Moving Target Indicator and Maritime Radar.
Designed for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), the MQ-9A Block 5 can fly for over 27 hours, at speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It has a 3,850 lbs (1,746 kg) payload capacity that includes 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg) of external stores.
Equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture, MQ-9A Block 5 is engineered to exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.
GA-ASI and RNLAF commemorated the completion of the first RPA with a special roll-out ceremony at GA-ASI’s corporate headquarters in Poway, Calif., and the event was simulcast to the Netherlands.
The total Foreign Military Sales agreement includes four MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and four mobile Ground Control Stations, along with associated support equipment.
The aircraft will begin its acceptance testing later this year and the aircraft will be delivered to the Netherlands before the end of 2021.
“We are proud to begin this new relationship with the Royal Netherlands Air Force,” said Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO.
“With millions of hours of proven performance under its wings, the MQ-9 is ideally suited to support their nation’s 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.”