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GA-ASI to Introduce New Defense Capabilities Into Netherlands’ MQ-9A Fleet

GA-ASI to Introduce New Defense Capabilities Into Netherlands’ MQ-9A Fleet

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is upgrading the Netherlands’ fleet of MQ-9A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. 

Under a new agreement, the California-based defense technology company will add new capabilities to the RPAs to meet the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s requirements.

“The RNLAF is using the MQ-9A for an increasing set of NATO missions,” said Lt. Col. Jan Ruedisueli, commander of the RNLAF’s 306 Squadron.

The upgrades, he added, will support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and maritime monitoring throughout Europe. 

GA-ASI will install new payloads on the RNLAF RPAs, including maritime radars, extended-range fuel tanks, electronic support measures and weapons. The fleet will also get communications relays to ensure all services under the Netherlands Ministry of Defence remain connected.

The MQ-9A Block 5 also has full-motion video, synthetic aperture radar, moving target indicator and maritime radar. To improve reliability, the unmanned aircraft has a fault-tolerant flight control system and a triple-redundant avionics system architecture.

The Netherlands is increasing its investments to improve its defense capabilities. In 2023, the European nation acquired four more MQ-9A aircraft from GA-ASI.

The Dutch government will grow military spending from $22.8 billion in 2024 to $31.2 billion in 2029, according to analytics company GlobalData.

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