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Reaper takes a Caribbean sojourn

7th January 2022 - 11:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The first MQ-9A Reaper UAV for the Royal Netherlands Air Force is being tested in flights from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. (Photo: Dutch MoD)

The first Dutch MQ-9A Reaper will be temporarily based on Curaçao for tests.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will receive its first MQ-9A Block 5 Reaper UAV next month, with a single aircraft and two ground stations based at Hato Airport on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.

In a 6 January statement, the Dutch MoD announced that it is ‘testing the unarmed system on Curaçao for the time being. This has to do with the favourable weather conditions and availability of the airspace’.

Eventually the Reaper and its ground stations will be relocated to Leeuwarden Air Base, which will also host three other MQ-9As plus two more ground stations.

‘Thanks to the satellite control, the UAVs can be operated worldwide,’ the MoD noted, adding that the MQ-9A aligns with its ‘desire to operate on the basis of information-driven military action’.

General Atomics completed production of the first Reaper for the RNLAF in July 2021 and acceptance tests were conducted later that year at the Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility before the aircraft was delivered to the RNLAF.

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