US extends support for Spanish MQ-9A drones

The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Spain of follow-on contractor logistics support for MQ-9A Block 5 UAVs and related equipment for an estimated cost of $110m.

Notifying the US Congress of the possible sale, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) stated on May 24 that Spain had requested to buy follow-on support to include components, spares, training and other assistance to its MQ-9A unmanned systems. The prime contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI).

Training on the MQ-9A UAVs is conducted at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. US DOD/Staff Sgt Christine Groening

The DSCA stated the proposed sale would support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

In November 2020, GA-ASI delivered the final two MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and a ground control station (GCS) to the Spanish Air Force, completing the programme acquisition of four platforms and three GCSs. The MQ-9A’s are operated by the Spanish Air Force’s 233rd Squadron at Talavera la Real Air Base near Badajoz, Spain.