The Pentagon notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale to France of 16 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support. The estimated cost of the transaction is $1.5 billion, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s release. “France requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the United States,” states DSCA’s June 27 release. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of San Diego manufacturers the Reaper. In addition to the 16 Reaper air vehicles, the sale would include eight mobile ground control stations; 48 Honeywell TPE331-10T turboprop engines, including 32 spares; 40 General Atomics Lynx synthetic aperture radar systems; 40 multispectral targeting systems; and associated communications and navigation gear. “It is vital to the US national interest to assist France to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” states the release. “This potential sale will enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability of the French military in support of national, NATO, United Nation-mandated, and other coalition operations.” In addition to the US Air Force, the British Royal Air Force and Italian air force already operate MQ-9s.
As the Air National Guard moves forward with its plans to replace aging C-130Hs with new C-130Js, it has decided where it wants to base its formal training unit for the new aircraft—Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.