Spain receives another pair of Reapers
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced on 1 December that it has delivered two more MQ-9A Block 5 Reaper UAVs and a ground control station (GCS) to the Spanish Air Force.
Delivery on 23 November, following acceptance tests carried out in the US by General Atomics, completed a 2015 FMS acquisition of four Reapers for ISR missions and three GCSs. The new MQ-9s will be operated by the 233rd Squadron at Talavera la Real Airbase near Badajoz.
Spain is not only the first international customer to acquire the MQ-9A Block 5 but it is also the first country to issue an Airworthiness Military Type Certificate for the aircraft.
‘This measure certifies that the entire system, including the maintenance, is safe for personnel in the air and on the ground,’ General Atomics noted. ‘It is also a key hurdle to clear to operate in national airspace.’
The 233rd Squadron has flown nearly 300 hours with its MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft. The Spanish Air Force ordered four aircraft in 2015 and another two in 2019.
According to Shephard Defence Insight, the Reapers in Spanish service are equipped with MTS-B EO/IR sensors and the Block 20A Lynx multi-mode radar.
Spain was the fifth European country to order Reaper, preferring it to the Heron TP for commonality with NATO allies (France, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and the US) which also operate the UAV.
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