GA-ASI lands a $400mn USAF order for 36 MQ-9 Reaper RPAS

World Aviation Defense & Security Industry News - General Atomics
GA-ASI lands a $400mn USAF order for 36 MQ-9 Reaper RPAS
The US-based aircraft manufacturer General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has been awarded a $399,979,895 US Air Force contract for MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft production, the US Department of Defense announced on May 16, 2017.
A MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during a local training mission June 9, 2009
(Credit: U.S. Air Force/Paul Ridgeway)
Under this contract, GA-ASI will produce 36 MQ-9 Reaper aircraft in the fiscal 2016 production configuration.

"Work will be performed at Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2020. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity," the US DoD said.

According to Inside Defense, a GA spokeswoman confirmed yesterday all of the aircraft under this contract will be built in the Block 5 configuration.

On Feb. 23, the US Air Force announced it would gradually replace squadrons of Northrop Grumman's MQ-1 Predator RPAS as they retire through the end of the year by larger and faster MQ-9 Reapers.

The US Air Force plans to fly a fleet of 350 MQ-9 Reapers by 2021. The MQ-9 is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft. Its weapons package includes a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Reaper has a maximum cruise speed of 482 km/h, a range of 1,800km and a service ceiling of 15,000 m.