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General Atomics awarded $36.4M for drone, intelligence work in Afghanistan

By Ed Adamczyk
General Atomics has received a $36.4 million contract to support intelligence operations in Afghanistan using MQ-9 "Reaper" unmanned air systems. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
General Atomics has received a $36.4 million contract to support intelligence operations in Afghanistan using MQ-9 "Reaper" unmanned air systems. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

May 31 (UPI) -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. received a $36.4 million contract modification for unmanned drone services in Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced.

The contract, announced Thursday, provides for nine months of Group 5 unmanned air system intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services.

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The air system, the MQ-9 Reaper, is part of Group 5, which indicates that the unmanned aerial vehicles are in the largest category of Defense Department classifications at greater than 1,320 pounds and functioning at altitudes above 18,000 feet.

The agreed-to services are in support of outside the continental U.S., or OCONUS, Task Force Southwest and Marine Corps operations using MQ-9 "Reaper" unmanned air systems.

Task Force Southwest is a U.S. operation in Afghanistan, partnered with the Afghan government, under NATO's Operation Resolute. It conducts security force assistance to train, advise, and assist missions to enable credible and sustainable Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in southwestern Afghanistan.

Work will be done largely at OCONUS locations, and at General Atomics facilities in Yuma, Ariz., and Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed by February 2020.

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