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Indo-Pacific 2022: Despite grim Reaper decision, GA-ASI retains hope

10th May 2022 - 19:30 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Sydney

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The MQ-9B can launch sonobuoys, giving the UCAV an ASW application. (Photo: Gordon Arthur)

Naval Group was not present at the Sydney expo after cancellation of its submarine programme, but GA-ASI put in an appearance despite its own Australian setback.

Australia delivered a bolt from the blue for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) when it cancelled a programme to buy 12 MQ-9B Reaper UCAVs. Nonetheless, the US company was present at the Indo-Pacific 2022 naval exhibition in Sydney on 10-12 May as it continued to promote its UCAV credentials.

Abandonment of the pending $1.65 billion buy under Project Air 7003 was announced on 1 April, with Canberra claiming that budget was the main reason.

No contract had been signed up till that point, but the cancellation was nonetheless sudden. However, there is a possibility that, if the current government led by Scott

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