The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and related equipment to Belgium for an estimated cost of $600 million.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 25, 2019.
The Government of Belgium has requested to purchase four (4) MQ-9B, RPA; two (2) Fixed Certifiable Ground Control Stations; five (5) AN/DAS-4 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (4 installed, 1 spare); fifteen (15) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) (12 installed, 3 spares); five (5) AN/APY-8 Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radars (4 installed, 1 spare); and five (5) Detect and Avoid Systems (4 installed, 1 spare). Also included are an Initial Spares Package (ISP) and Readiness Spares Package (RSP) to support a 5-year period of performance; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $600 million.
The DSCA statement said that this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally adding that it is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Belgium to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.
This potential sale enhances the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the Belgian military in support of national, NATO, United Nation-mandated, and other coalition operations. Commonality of ISR capabilities increases interoperability between the U.S. and Belgian military and peacekeeping forces.
Belgium intends to use these defense articles and services to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, domestic security, and interoperability with the U.S./NATO partners. The current fleet of Belgian Air Component aircraft have proven insufficient to support sustained and persistent ISR operations. The proposed sale will enable the Belgian Air Component to conduct persistent and wide area ISR, including target acquisition, target designation, providing precision coordinates for Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided munitions, battle damage assessment, signal intelligence, communication, and data relays. Belgium will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.
The principal contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., San Diego, California.