US signals MQ-9 sale to Taiwan
Taiwan is set to procure US-made MQ-9 Reaper UAS to boost its ISR capabilities, after the US State Department approved a $600 million FMS package.
The deal was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on 3 November. It includes four MQ-9s plus static and mobile ground control stations; MX-20 multi-spectral targeting systems and spares; SeaVue maritime multi-role patrol radars; Sage 750 ESM systems; SATCOM, radio communication and IFF equipment; plus contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services.
General Atomic Aeronautical Systems will be the prime contractor, with potential industrial offsets to be agreed with the Taiwanese government.
As the MQ-9B is listed as an MTCR Category I UAS system, it is subject to Enhanced End Use Monitoring under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
In view of this, a State Department official noted that the likely MQ-9 sale to Taiwan is significant because it marks the first time that the US has applied its revised UAS export policy, to invoke national discretion to treat the transfer of a Category I UAS with a maximum airspeed of under 800km/h as Category II.
The US remains committed to the MTCR, the State Department official said, but it ‘will continue to work with MTCR Partners to modernize controls on Category I UAVs’.
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