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US gives green light for Italian MQ-9 Reaper UAVs weaponization.


| 2015
a
World Aviation Defense & Security News - Italy
 
 
US gives green light for Italian MQ-9 Reaper UAVs weaponization
 
The United States State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Italy for weaponization of its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $129.6 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced today, Nov. 4, 2015.
     
US gives green light for Italian MQ 9 Reaper UAVs weaponization 640 001An Italian Air Force MQ-9 Reaper / Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle
     
The Government of Italy requested a possible sale of Major Defense Equipment (MDE) items including one hundred and fifty-six (156) AGM-114R2 HELLFIRE II Missiles; eight (8) HELLFIRE II, M36-E8 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); and thirty (30) GBU-12 Laser Guided Bombs. Non-MDE items requested include thirty (30) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs); five (5) HELLFIRE M34 Dummy Missiles; thirty (30) GBU-49 Enhanced Laser Guided Bombs; thirty (30) GBU-54 Laser JDAMs; twenty-six (26) Bomb Racks; six (6) MQ-9 weaponization kits and installation; thirteen (13) M-299 launchers; two (2) AN/AWM-103 test suites; personnel weapons training/equipment; spare parts; support equipment; publications and technical data; U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance; and other related elements of program and logistics support. The estimated MDE value is $18 million.

"Italy requests to arm its MQ-9 Reapers for three primary reasons: 1) to support and enhance burden sharing in NATO and coalition operations; 2) to increase operational flexibility; and 3) to increase the survivability of Italian deployed forces. Italy currently operates the MQ-9 system and will have no difficulty incorporating this added capability into its Air Force," the DSCA said.

The prime contractor will be the General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems.

On 1 August 2008, Italy submitted a FMS request through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency for four aircraft, four ground stations and five years of maintenance support, all valued at US$330 million. Italy ordered two more aircraft in November 2009. The UAVs were highly used i.a. in Kosovo and in Afghanistan.

 

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