Reaper Madness

The Department of Defense has notified Congress of potential foreign military sales of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles to Germany and Italy. Under a proposed $205 million package, Germany would receive five MQ-9s and associated equipment and services, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release dated Aug. 1. Italy would buy four MQ-9s and associated support under a deal that could run up to $330 million, DSCA said in a separate statement on that same day. Congress has 30 days from notification to voice concerns over these sales. Otherwise the deals may go forward. The Air Force has operated armed Reapers in combat in Afghanistan since September 2007 and began using them in Iraq last month. The British Royal Air Force has also used unarmed MQ-9s in Afghanistan since late last year. The British do plan to weaponize their MQ-9s and are purchasing additional units. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems build the aircraft, which is the larger cousin to the company’s MQ-1 Predator.