Jan. 29 (UPI) -- General Atomics has been awarded a $49.3 million contract by the Air Force for software development on the MQ-9 Reaper drone.
The deal, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $49.3 million under a cost-plus-fixed-fee order contract, which is a modification on a previous award.
The MQ-9 Reaper is used primarily for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and is considered one of the primary weapons in U.S. counter terrorism strategy.
The Reapers have strike capabilities, usually carrying a payload of AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.
The contract provides for software development, in addition to sustaining the current MQ-9 Reaper force operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command units.
Work on the contract will occur in Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed by January 2020.
More than $9.8 million is being obligated to General Atomics at the time of award from fiscal 2017 and 2018 research and development funds.