The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will double the number of MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft they will procure, taking the total order from four to eight aircraft. The first four MQ-9A Block 5 Reapers and associated Ground Control Stations were delivered to the RNLAF in 2022. MQ-9A is designed and developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).
“We are doubling the number of MQ-9A Reapers so we can increase our maritime and overland intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance (ISR) capacity,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Ruedisueli, commander of the RNLAF’s 306 squadron that operate the new MQ-9A Reapers. “The MQ-9As will receive external pods for Electronic Intelligence, a communications relay, a Maritime Radar, and also be armed in the future.”
The delivery of the MQ-9As, their Ground Control Stations, and support equipment is part of a USAF Foreign Military Sale to the RNLAF.
“We’re thrilled that the first set of Dutch Reapers have made such a positive impact on the RNLAF,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “With this new set of capabilities, the Netherlands will have the most capable set of MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft in the world. They have customized the Dutch MQ-9As to meet the Netherlands’ expanding mission set.”
MQ-9A Block 5 has endurance of up to 27 hours, is capable of speeds up to 240 KTAS and can operate up to 40,000 feet. It has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.