Spain to receive two new Reapers
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has been awarded a contract worth in excess of $34 million for two MQ-9 Reaper UAVs and associated equipment for the Spanish military, according to a US DoD contract announcement issued on 29 March.
The two MQ-9s are expected to be delivered by 31 March, 2020, bringing the Spanish Reaper fleet count to six. The first four of the UAVs were contracted in 2016, in a deal worth $27 million. The Spanish Air Force intends to use the drones to perform homeland security, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
Spain was the fifth European country to order the MQ-9, choosing it over the Heron TP for commonality with NATO allies who also make use of the airframe.
In service since 2007, the MQ-9 Reaper has a maximum speed of 260kt and payload capacity of 1,700kg. The Reaper has an endurance of 14 hours when fully loaded with munitions – such as AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles, or AIM-9 Sidewinders.
The MQ-9 has been one of the most widely used military UAVs in the world, with the USAF operating 195 units as of September 2016.
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