The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is doubling the number of MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) procured from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), taking the total order from four to eight.
The first four MQ-9A Block 5 Reapers and associated Ground Control Stations were delivered to the RNLAF in 2022.
The delivery of the MQ-9As, Ground Control Stations, and support equipment is part of a USAF Foreign Military Sale to the RNLAF.
“We are doubling the number of MQ-9A Reapers so we can increase our maritime and overland intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance (ISR) capacity,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Ruedisueli, Commander of the RNLAF’s 306 squadron that operate the new MQ-9A Reapers. “The MQ-9As will receive external pods for Electronic Intelligence, a communications relay, a Maritime Radar, and also be armed in the future.”
“We’re thrilled that the first set of Dutch Reapers have made such a positive impact on the RNLAF,” added GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “With this new set of capabilities, the Netherlands will have the most capable set of MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft in the world. They have customized the Dutch MQ-9As to meet the Netherlands’ expanding mission set.”
MQ-9A Block 5 has an endurance of up to 27 hours, is capable of speeds up to 240 KTAS, can operate up to 40,000 feet, and has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores.
The aircraft provides a long-endurance persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar, and is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture.