The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will soon get the Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Medium Altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) from US based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI).
The government-to-government agreement was signed by Vice Admiral Jan de Waard, director of the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation, and Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency at the ongoing Farnborough Air Show on Tuesday.
The decision to provide the UAS follows consideration by the Ministry of Defence for the Netherlands. “The MQ-9 procurement would not only add to Dutch national capabilities, but also the Netherlands’ capability to contribute to NATO,” Lt Gen Hooper said.
The existing MQ-9 fleet has logged over two million operational flight hours with the USAF, UK RAF, Italian and French Air Forces, NASA and the US DHS. The Spanish Air Force is scheduled to take delivery of MQ-9 systems in 2019.
“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to meet the UAS requirements of the Royal Netherlands Air Force,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We are committed to providing a NATO-interoperable solution that enhances the ISR capabilities of the Netherlands and the Alliance.”
The multi-mission Predator B has up to 26 hours of flight endurance and carries HD-video sensors (optical and IR), ground-imaging/MTI/maritime radar, and other surveillance sensors. The aircraft features an extensive payload capacity (386 kg internally, 1361 kg externally), with a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet/13700 meters.