The Netherlands To Upgrade Their MQ-9A Capabilities
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Mar 27, 2024

The Netherlands To Upgrade Their MQ-9A Capabilities

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is working with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to make important upgrades to their growing fleet of MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The RNLAF announced in 2023 that they will double their number of MQ-9A Reapers from four to eight and now are making upgrades to their aircraft to include capabilities such as maritime radars, a communications relay, extended range fuel tanks, electronic support measures (ESM), and weapons. The upgrades will take place incrementally over the next three years.

“The RNLAF is using the MQ-9A for an increasing set of NATO missions,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Ruedisueli, commander of the RNLAF’s 306 Squadron. “With these upgrades, we will support NATO’s ISR and maritime surveillance missions throughout Europe.”

GA-ASI will integrate the new payloads for the RNLAF, including a maritime radar currently operating in other areas of the world, ESM, weapons, and a communications relay that is purpose-built to connect all services of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence.

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“We’re excited to continue upgrading and increasing the mission capabilities of the RNLAF’s fleet of Reapers,” said Jaime Walters, vice president of International Strategic Development at GA-ASI. “One of the key aspects of our aircraft is the modularity of our platforms allowing them to rapidly meet the full spectrum of customer requirements.”

The MQ-9A Block 5 has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, surveillance capability with full-motion video, Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar, and ESM. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and a triple-redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.