The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has taken delivery of three MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and two Mobile Ground Control Stations from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) for long-range, long-endurance surveillance missions.
The RNLAF will begin operating the MQ-9s out of Curacao in late April 2022.
“We are excited to receive our aircraft and start operating with them straightaway,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Boudewijn Roddenhof, commander of the RNLAF’s 306 squadron, which will operate the new MQ-9A Reapers. “The MQ-9A Reaper will be very valuable for information-driven operations with the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Netherlands’ armed forces in general. We will operationally test and evaluate the system during our deployment to Curacao and expect it to be a valuable asset for the Commander of Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean.”
The delivery of the first three of four MQ-9As, their Ground Control Stations (GCS), and support equipment is part of a US Air Force Foreign Military Sale to the RNLAF.
“We’re thrilled to deliver the unique capabilities of our MQ-9A Block 5 RPA to the Netherlands, and we know this capability will significantly enhance their operations,” said GA-ASI Vice President of International Strategic Development Robert Schoeffling.
MQ-9A Block 5 has endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.