The US State Department has approved the sale of four MQ-9B SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and related equipment to Belgium.
The potential foreign military sale has been notified to Congress by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
Under the estimated $600m sale, the Government of Belgium has requested four MQ-9B RPA, two fixed certifiable ground control stations, and five AN/DAS-4 multi-spectral targeting systems.
Additionally, it has requested 15 embedded global positioning systems / inertial navigation systems, five AN/APY-8 lynx synthetic aperture radars, and five detect and avoid systems.
Other related programme support under the contract includes initial spares package (ISP) and readiness spares package (RSP) to support a five-year performance period, as well as spare parts, and equipment for support, testing and personnel training.
In a statement, DSCA said: “It is vital to the US national interest to assist Belgium to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability.”
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The procurement of MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones is expected to help improve the Belgian military’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.
The Belgian Air Component will be able to perform activities such as target acquisition and designation, provide global positioning system (GPS) aided munitions with accurate coordinates, signal intelligence, communication, data relays, and battle damage assessment.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will serve as the principal contractor for the sale.
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian is the latest Predator B series of drones designed for medium-altitude, long-endurance missions and can operate autonomously for ISR missions and precision strikes.
The RPA is in service with Nasa, and the US Department of Homeland Security, as well as the airforces of the US, the UK, France, Spain and Italy.