General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has been awarded a US$79.4m order to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite quantity contract for France’s MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft programme.
Reporting the award on June 28, the US Department of Defense (DoD) stated that the work is expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2024. Previously, in September 2020 GA-ASI was awarded a US$27.8m contract for the French MQ-9 Block 5 weaponisation and Foreign Military Sales Pod integration effort, providing for the integration of kinetic capabilities to France’s fleet.
In a 2013 statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is was disclosed that the US State Department had approved the sale of 16 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, together with eight mobile ground control stations and associated equipment, to France in a deal estimated at US$1.5bn.
According to AirForces Intelligence France currently operates a fleet of six MQ-9A Reaper UAVs, owning five with a further platform leased from manufacturer GA-ASI following the loss of one aircraft during counter-insurgency operations in Africa’s Sahel region.