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LIMA 2019: General Atomics pursues Reaper opportunity in Malaysia

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.

General Atomics is looking to meet a requirement in Malaysia for a MALE UAV (General Atomics)

General Atomics is looking to meet a requirement in Malaysia for a MALE UAV (General Atomics)

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.

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