General Atomics has won an $18 million contract action to weaponise France’s MQ‐9 Block 5 drones.
According to a contract notice:
“General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a not-to-exceed $17,868,222 undefinitized contract action for the France MQ-9 Block 5 weaponization and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Pod Integration effort. This contract provides for the weaponization of the French Air Force MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft and integration of the FMS Pod onto the French Air Force MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft.
Work will be performed in Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2021.
This contract involves 100% foreign military sales to France. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $8,755,428 are being obligated at the time of award.”
In 2014, France’s first MQ-9 flight took off from Niger. The first two Reapers to enter French service are designated Block 1 and use U.S. equipment; further orders are to be modified with European payloads such as sensors and datalinks.