General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has been awarded USD188.9 million related to the production and delivery of its MQ-9B SkyGuardian unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to Belgium.
The SkyGuardian UAS differs from the Reaper on which it is based primarily in that it can be used in controlled airspace. Belgium has been approved to procure four to satisfy its ISTAR requirements. (GA-ASI)
The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) award, announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 14 August, provides for four of the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), two fixed ground control stations (GCSs), as well as spares and support. Work is expected to be complete by 31 March 2024.
News of the contract comes 17 months after the US State Department approved in March 2019 the sale of the SkyGuardian, previously known as Certifiable Predator B, to Belgium.
As noted in that approval, Belgium plans to use the SkyGuardian for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) in support of national, NATO, United Nations-mandated, and other coalition operations.