The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Nov. 18 of a possible foreign military sale to Italy of two unarmed MQ-9 remotely piloted vehicles, one ground control station, and all associated equipment and support services. The total value of this potential deal is $63 million, said DSCA in a release Nov. 19. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this sale, DSCA noted. Italy already operates MQ-1 Predators, It would become the second US ally, after Britain, to acquire the Reaper. Britain has already used MQ-9s in Afghanistan. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems builds the Reaper, which the US Air Force already operates in Afghanistan and Iraq (see above). Raytheon and General Atomics supply its sensors.
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.