On Nov. 9, 2023, the Italian Air Force (ItAF) made its first flight of a new MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). The new RPA was delivered to the ItAF, along with a new Mobile Ground Control Station (MGCS), as part of a Mid-Life Modernization (MLM) update to the ItAF fleet of RPAs from GA-ASI. The aircraft and MGCS are part of a Foreign Military Sale.
The Block 5 RPA provides a significant increase in electrical power generation, auto takeoff and landing capability with improved landing gear and datalinks, and the latest version of the GA-ASI Lynx® Multi-mode Radar.
“The Italian Air Force has long been a leader in using the MQ-9 Reaper to support a wide range of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in Italy, over the Mediterranean, and in support of NATO operations,” said GA-ASI Vice President of International Strategic Development Jaime Walters. “The delivery of this new Block 5 and MGCS will help to update the Italian Air Force’s existing fleet.”
The ItAF’s current fleet of RPAs from GA-ASI consists of four Block 1s and two Block 15 MGCSs.