General Atomics Awarded $291M Contract for U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper UAS Support and Services

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has been awarded a contract, worth around $291 million, for U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems (UAS) support and services.

The cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition and fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of around $51 million are being obligated at the time of award.

This contract provides for program management, logistics support, configuration management, technical manual and software maintenance, contractor field service representative support, inventory control point management, flight operations support, depot repair, and depot field maintenance.

Work will be performed in Poway, California, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019.

General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.

The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier General Atomics MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine (compared to the Predator’s 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine). The greater power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at about three times the speed of the MQ-1.

The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF to indicate their human ground controllers. The aircraft is monitored and controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS), including weapons employment.

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