US approves foreign military sale of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft to Australia

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.651 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 23.

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US approves foreign military sale of MQ 9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft to Australia MQ-9B (Picture source: GA-ASI)

The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to twelve (12) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B, Remotely Piloted Aircraft; fifteen (15) Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems-D (MTS-D) EO/IR sensors; sixteen (16) Lynx AN/APY-8 Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) with Ground Moving Target Indicator (GTMI); fifteen (15) RIOTM Communication Intelligence Systems; thirty-six (36) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules (SAASMs); six (6) KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits for 500lb bombs; four (4) MXU-650 Airfoil Groups for 500lb Paveway II GBU-12; seven (7) MXU-1006 Airfoil Groups for 250lb Paveway II GBU-58; four (4) MAU-169 or MAU-209 Computer Control Groups (CCGs) for 250lb/500lb Paveway II GBU-58/GBU-12; six (6) FMU-139 Fuse Systems; twelve (12) MK-82 General Purpose 500lb inert bombs; five (5) High Bandwidth Compact Telemetry Modules (HCTMs). Also included are Honeywell aircraft engines; Certifiable Ground Control Stations (CGCSs); mobile Satellite Communication Ground Data Terminals (SGDTs); Leonardo SAGE 750 Electronic Surveillance Measures System (ESM); GATES/RSO/GRMA; Automatic Information System (AIS); ARC-210 radios; AN/DPX-7 IFF transponders; General Dynamics Satellite Communication (SATCOM) antennas and Hughes modems with USG encryption; Leonardo/Selex SeaSpray 7500 maritime radars; KY-100M security voice terminals; KIV-77 Mode 4/5 IFF cryptographic appliques; AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loaders; U.S. Government Certified Encryption Solution; KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminal Link-16; Sierra Nevada Electronic Intelligence System; additional secure communications and cryptographic equipment; MQ-9B training simulator; Hellfire Training Missiles, missile rail kits and integration; M-299 Hellfire Rail Launchers; DSU-38 Laser Illuminated Target Detector for GBU-54; MK-81 General Purpose Bombs 250lb Inert Bombs; aircraft and weapons integration, test, and test equipment; additional ground support and test equipment; initial spare repair parts; repair & return; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The overall total estimated value is $1.651 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.

The proposed sale improves Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing timely Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition, locate submarine capabilities, and counter-land and counter-surface sea capabilities for its security and defense. This sale will enhance interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Australia has demonstrated a commitment to modernizing its military and will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The principal contractors will be General Atomic Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego, CA; Lockheed Martin Inc., Bethesda, MD; Raytheon Inc., Waltham MA; and Leonardo SpA, Rome, Italy. The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s).