General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has been awarded a $17-million contract to provide sustainment support services for the Italian Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drones.
Announced by the US State Department, the deal covers engineering services, depot repair, spare parts delivery, and software maintenance services for the country’s MQ-9 Block 1 and 5 aircraft.
Work for the contract will be performed in California, Italy, and Kuwait, and is expected to be complete by January 2025.
Italy announced its procurement of four MQ-9 Reaper drones (sometimes called Predator B) from the US in 2008 for 90 million euros ($97 million).
About the MQ-9 Drone
The MQ-9 Reaper is a turboprop-powered remotely piloted aircraft for supporting military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
It is equipped with cutting-edge sensors, a multi-mode communications suite, and a fault-tolerant flight control system for improved overall performance.
The drone can also support combat operations, thanks to its wide range of precision strike weapons.
According to General Atomics, the MQ-9 has a flight endurance of over 27 hours, a speed of 240 knots (444 kilometers/276 miles per hour), and a payload capacity of 3,850 pounds (1,746 kilograms).
In December 2023, the Italian Air Force conducted the maiden flight of its new MQ-9A drone in the Block 5 configuration.
The unmanned platform boasts a significant increase in electrical power generation, automatic takeoff and landing capability, improved landing gear and datalink.