Netherlands to arm its MQ-9 Reaper fleet with bombs and missiles

The Dutch Ministry of Defence intends to arm the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. This was announced by State Secretary Christophe van der Maat on 23.

Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, laser-guided GBU bombs already deployed on the F-35 and air-to-ground Hellfire missiles in a newer version will be procured.

The procurement volume is estimated to be between 100 and 250 million euros. The Netherlands is aligning itself with France, which operates with the same configuration, according to Christophe van der Maat.

In accordance with the Defence Memorandum 2022, the Netherlands aims to ensure the safety of its troops and increase operational speed and flexibility through this armament. By arming the MQ-9 drones, reconnaissance data can be used for target engagement without transferring it to other systems.

The Netherlands currently possesses four MQ-9 Reapers, which are expected to achieve full operational readiness by mid-2023. These unmanned aircraft are prepared for armament but require retrofitting, as stated by van der Maat. New aircraft expected in 2026 will not require modification for armament as they are already technically prepared for it.



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