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Netherlands receives first MQ-9A Reaper UAS

16th August 2023 - 15:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The Dutch military placed its $123 million order for four MQ-9A Reapers in 2018. (Photo: RNLAF)

The first Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) General Atomics MQ-9A Block 5 Reaper UAS has arrived at the Leeuwarden air base in the north of the country.

The Reaper will be used for training purposes for the first 306 Squadron personnel.

Following a cancelled MALE UAV project in 2007, the Dutch MoD revealed its intention to acquire four MQ-9A Reapers from GA-ASI in 2013, choosing the drone over the Heron TP from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The Dutch military placed its $123 million order in 2018, with deliveries scheduled for 2021. This delivery date was not met, with the drones instead being delivered to the RNLAF throughout 2022.

The first Dutch copy rolled out of the factory of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) in July 2021 at Poway, US. The RNLAF received it in February 2022 but it was shipped to the Caribbean for testing.

The other three MQ-9As are still based at Hato airport at Curaçao in the Caribbean. These three will be ‘operated’ via a Ground Control Station (GSC) at Leeuwarden air base soon.

The Reapers are not yet armed, but in May this year, the State Secretary of Defence informed the Dutch House of Representatives that it would purchase ammunition for the MQ-9As. The ammunition is expected to be fully deployable in 2028.

The Shephard News Team


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