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General Atomics Deploys MQ-9A for US Marine Corps Drone Training

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has deployed its MQ-9A Reaper drone to support the US Marine Corps in training exercises at Twentynine Palms, California.

The activity is part of US Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) and US joint forces preparation for drone operations in future dynamic environments.

The service-level training exercises program consists of drills in integrated live-fire, force-on-force MAGTF warfighting, and marine littoral operations.

A team of pilots and sensor personnel from the company and the US Marine Aircraft Group 36 operated the MQ-9A from Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, for the exercise.

Parts of the drill involved flights over military training sites in the Southwest US.

Supporting US Marines

According to GA-ASI, this is the first time a GA-ASI MQ-9A system has been integrated into the MAGTFTC for military drills.

“GA-ASI is always ready and willing to support the USMC exercises,” GA-ASI US Defense Strategic Development Vice President Patrick Shortsleeve stated.

“We know that being able to utilize an actual MQ-9A is critical to the success of these exercises and helps the USMC ramp-up their training program.”

MQ-9A Reaper
The multi-sensor reconnaissance-equipped MQ-9A drones support USMC’s operations in the battlefield. Photo: Isaac Brekken/AFP

‘A Key Contributor’

Last year, GA-ASI signed a contract to deliver eight MQ-9A extended-range drones to the US Marine Corps.

“This capability will be a key ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) contributor for the Marine Air Ground Task Force – and ultimately for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command – as we pace ourselves to outmaneuver our adversaries,” Shortsleeve said regarding the contract award.

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