The MQ-9 SkyGuardian, also known as the Reaper, performs surveillance and strike missions for the United States and allied nations. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Air Force has awarded General Atomics $26.7 million for French air force MQ-9 logistics services.
The work comes after an option on a previously awarded contract was exercised, and announced on Tuesday by the Department of Defense. The contract falls under Foreign Military Sales and is expected to run through December 2019. The sale involved is exclusively for France.
The MQ-9 SkyGuardian, also known as the Reaper, is a development of the MQ-1 Predator. It is a much larger platform and able to carry bigger payloads of sensors and heavier weapons.
The drone is designed for attack missions, precision strikes against high-value targets, surveillance, air support and reconnaissance.
The Reaper has a range of over 1,100 miles and extended loiter time for patrols and surveillance. It carries the advanced Multi-Spectral Targeting System for target detection, surveillance and strike missions.
The MSTS includes infrared cameras, laser designators, and video systems with satellite datalinks that allow its sensor data to be networked.
The Reaper can be armed with GPS-guided bombs like the Joint Direct Attack Munition. It can also deploy the Hellfire and GBU Paveway laser-guided missiles and bombs.
The Reaper has been widely exported to U.S. allies, including NATO members like France and allies including India.