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November 4, 2015

Italy to receive MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems from US

The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale (FMS) to Italy for weaponisation of MQ-9 Reapers and associated equipment, parts and logistical support.

By Samseer M

The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale (FMS) to Italy for weaponisation of MQ-9 Reapers and associated equipment, parts and logistical support.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress about the potential sale.

Valued at around $129.6m, the proposed sale will cover defence equipment including 156 AGM-114R2 Hellfire II Missiles; eight Hellfire II, M36-E8 captive air training missiles (CATMs); and thirty GBU-12 laser guided bombs.

"The proposed sale will cover defence equipment including 156 AGM-114R2 Hellfire II Missiles; eight Hellfire II, M36-E8 captive air training missiles (CATMs); and thirty GBU-12 laser guided bombs."

The non-defence equipment (MDE) items included in the deal are 30 GBU-38 joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs); five Hellfire M34 dummy missiles; 30 GBU-49 enhanced laser guided bombs; 30 GBU-54 laser JDAMs; 26 bomb racks and six MQ-9 weaponisation kits and installation.

In addition, the deal will see the supply of 13 M-299 launchers; two AN/AWM-103 test suites; personnel weapons training / equipment; spare parts; support equipment; publications and technical data; US Government and contractor technical assistance; and other related elements of programme and logistics support.

The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system and is designed to offer a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.

The new capabilities will enable Italy to support and enhance burden sharing in Nato and coalition operations and increase its operational flexibility. Moreover, it will strengthen the survivability of Italian deployed forces.

The principal contractor for this proposed deal is General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems.

In October, the US State Department approved a possible FMS worth $243m to Spain for an MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft and associated equipment, parts and logistical support.

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