General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) is positioning its MQ-9 Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to meet a requirement in Malaysia to boost maritime surveillance capability.
Terry Kraft, GA-ASI's regional vice-president for international strategic development in Southeast Asia, told Jane's that the company is in "ongoing discussions" with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) about a possible programme.
Speaking ahead of the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia, which commences on 26 March, Kraftsaid the Malaysian government has asked for a total of "nine aircraft" but did not elaborate. He added that GA-ASI is offering Malaysia the MQ-9A Guardian and MQ-9B SeaGuardian variants of the system.
In positioning the Reaper for Malaysia, GA-ASI is aiming to provide the country with a "system-of-systems" that is "highly interoperable within the Malaysian Armed Forces and with key allies", the company said. In supporting the proposal, GA-ASI is also offering a comprehensive industrial collaboration package in line with Malaysia's defence offset requirements.
Kraft noted that the 'systems' approach reflects the range of advanced capabilities being offered to Malaysia through a Reaper procurement. Although final specifications would depend on RMAF requirements, Kraft said these capabilities would include an integrated detect and avoid (DAA) system, a satellite communications-based launch and recovery system, multiple aircraft control, short runway capability, and over-the-horizon satellite control.
Additional surveillance capability will be available through the procurement of the MQ-9B SeaGuardian, he added.
Further advantages would be offered through the Reapers' interoperability with "all US systems" and other nations that have committed to procuring the aircraft, including Australia and India, said Kraft. "Interoperability allows these nations to share information seamlessly while possibly collaborating for logistics and maintenance support," he said.
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