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Australia axes its Reapers in surprise cancellation

1st April 2022 - 04:58 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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RAAF plans to buy a dozen MQ-9Bs came to grief on April Fool’s Day. (GA-ASI)

Reigniting emotions from the cancellation of its submarine programme last year, Australia has now done much the same with its planned Reaper buy from the US.

The 1st of April turned into a rather ominous day for the Australian species of the MQ-9B. Defence officials admitted at a Senate Estimates hearing that this Project Air 7003 programme was being axed.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was expecting to receive 12 MQ-9Bs to be based at Edinburgh near Adelaide, representing the country’s first-ever armed UAVs. The US had approved the $1.65 billion sale on 23 April 2021.

Little justification has been given for the surprise cancellation. However, it is believed to be primarily budgetary in nature.

Andrew Greene, ABC’s defence correspondent, claimed the scrapping was

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