General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) rolled out the first MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Ground Control Station (GCS) for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) on Wednesday.
GA-ASI and RNLAF commemorated the occasion with a special roll-out ceremony at GA-ASI’s corporate headquarters in Poway, Calif., and the event was simulcast to the Netherlands.
The aircraft will begin its acceptance testing early next year at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., and the aircraft will be delivered to the Netherlands soon after. The total Foreign Military Sales agreement includes four MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and four mobile Ground Control Stations, along with associated support equipment.
MQ-9A Block 5 has endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It 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, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture.