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Netherlands to deploy Reapers to Romania

The Royal Netherlands Air Force is relocating an undisclosed number of Reaper UAVs from the Caribbean to Romania. (Royal Netherlands Air Force)

The Netherlands is to deploy General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Romania to help bolster NATO's eastern flank, it was announced on 12 January.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) said it is to redeploy the Reapers it has been trialling from the Dutch island of Curaçao in the Caribbean region, saying the work to dismantle and transport an undisclosed number of the four air vehicles so far received would commence in the week beginning 15 January.

“We now move to Romania, from where we contribute to the NATO mission to keep Europe safe,” the RNLAF said.

Operated by 306 Squadron located at Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands, the Reapers will be flown out of Campia Turzii Air Base in central Romania. Though the RNLAF plans to arm the 10 Reapers it has ordered, the air vehicles deployed to Romania will be flown in an unarmed configuration.

Powered by a single Honeywell TPE331-10GD turboprop engine, the Reaper has a maximum take-off weight of 4,760 kg, a payload of 1,701 kg, a cruise speed of 200 kt, a range of 1,000 n miles, a service ceiling of 50,000 ft, and an endurance of 27 h. It carries an electro-optic/infrared sensor turret for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) duties.

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