The Pentagon notified Congress of a possible $339 million deal to supply MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft to the Netherlands. The foreign military sales deal would supply four Reapers and four ground control stations, in addition to Lynx synthetic aperture radar with the ability to track ground moving targets, as well as parts, training, and three years of support, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s release. “It is vital to the US national interest to assist the Netherlands to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability” as part of the NATO alliance, states the Feb. 6 release. “The Netherlands requests this capability to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the US,” notes the release. The Dutch military is sending an initial cadre of RPA pilots and sensor operators to Holloman AFB, N.M., in preparation for the standup or a Reaper capability in 2015. NATO members Britain, France, Italy, and the United States already cooperatively operate Reapers.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.