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France to arm MQ-9 Reapers with GBU-12 bombs

28th March 2019 - 21:23 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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The French Air Force is to weaponise its MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bombs, in a move that marks a transition from the service using the long endurance drones for unarmed ISR operations. 

Confirmation of the development follows on from the US DoD issuing a weapons integration contract for French MQ-9 aircraft to manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) earlier this month and is in line with a wider French programme plan to operate the fleet with armed capability in the Sahel, as part of Operation Barkhane before the end of 2019.

To this point, …

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