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GA-ASI wins contract to update Italian Air Force MQ-9 RPA

According to information published on May 31, 2021, the Italian Air Force has partnered with the U.S. Government and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to provide a mid-life update to its fleet of MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Ground Control Stations (GCS) as part of a Foreign Military Sales agreement.

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GA ASI wins contract to update Italian Air Force MQ 9 RPA General Atomics MQ-9 RPA unmanned aerial vehicle (Picture source: General Atomics)


The Italian Air Force’s Mid-Life Modernization (MLM) Program will include updates to the MQ-9s which will improve them from Block 1 to Block 5 configuration.

The Block 5 system includes a significantly increased electrical power capability, improved landing gear and the latest versions of the GA-ASI Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and Raytheon Electro-Optical sensors.

“The Italian Air Force has long been a leader in the utilization of MQ-9 RPA to support a wide range of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in Italy, over the Mediterranean, and in support of NATO operations,” said GA-ASI European Regional Vice President, Scott Smith.

“These enhancements give Italian forces the ability to see better and more clearly than ever with their MQ-9 RPAs and we’re proud to work with the ItAF to update their existing fleet.”

The MQ-9 Reaper is a remotely piloted medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) aircraft designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), and attack missions.

The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the U.S. Air Force. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons -- it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.