USMC buys two previously leased Reapers
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) completed the transfer of two MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 UAS plus associated support equipment and ground control stations to the USMC on 15 October 2021, the company announced on 20 October.
Both aircraft were operated by the USMC since 2018 under a contractor-owned/contractor-operated (COCO) lease agreement to meet a UOR. They have accrued more than 12,000 flight hours in operations over the Middle East.
From April 2020, the two COCO MQ-9As were flown in remote split operations from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma under a lease agreement between GA-ASI and Naval Air Systems Command.
The Reapers represent the first increment of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) UAS Expeditionary Program of Record (MUX POR).
The MUX POR will include an additional 16 new MQ-9As, which the USMC will begin procuring in 2022 to support an early operational capability in 2023 and IOC for US Indo-Pacific Command by 2025.
GA ASI president David Alexander said the leasing arrangement was ‘a great example of how a customer can “try before you buy” our aircraft’.
As a result, he added, the USMC has ‘seen firsthand how a persistent ISR platform, like the MQ-9A, can support the Marine Corps’ need for long-range sensing in the Pacific as a part of the Commandant’s Force Design Initiative’.
More from Air Warfare
The Swedish Armed forces will invest to renovate and expand a GKN-run engine test facility for the Saab Gripen's turbofan powerplants.
US contractor Field Aerospace has finished upgrading the Turkish Air Force's Boeing KC-135R tanker fleet flight decks to Block 45 configuration.
As Iranian drones equip Russian forces in ever-increasing numbers, Su-35 fighter jets will soon be heading in the opposite direction as Tehran urgently seeks modern air combat capabilities.
The Virginia-based aerospace company has received a strategic funding injection of up to $85m to mature its eSTOL technology for the US Air Force.
Completion of HAWC flight testing means the US has two viable hypersonic missile designs that can be matured into future programmes of record.