8 MQ-9A ER Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) will begin delivery to the USMC (U.S. Marine Corps’) later this year. The MQ-9A Extended Range (ER), is designed with field-retrofittable capabilities such as wing-borne fuel pods and reinforced landing gear that extends the aircraft’s endurance to more than 30 hours, while further increasing its operational flexibility.
Providing long-endurance, persistent surveillance capabilities, with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Mode Radar, the MQ-9A ER is an extremely reliable UAS equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.
GA-ASI was awarded a contract for eight MQ-9A Extended Range (ER) Unmanned Aircraft Systems as part of the ARES Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (ID/IQ) contract on May 27, 2022 and anticipates awards later this year for Ground Control Systems (GCS), spares, and Ground Support Equipment as part of the first increment of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) Program of Record.
First delivery of aircraft and support equipment will begin this winter to facilitate the fleet standup in late summer 2023 for U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU)-3 located at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. As part of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 efforts, VMU-3 will operate these MQ-9A ERs with their unique sensors and network capabilities to support training for the Marine Littoral Regiment.
GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development, Patrick Shortsleeve said; “We look forward to rapid deployment of these MQ-9A ERs for our USMC customer. This capability will be a key ISR contributor for the Marine Air Ground Task Force – and ultimately for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command – as we pace ourselves to outmaneuver our adversaries.”