USAF Awards Contract Mod for Eight More MQ-9s

As the Air Force attempts to rebalance its remotely piloted aircraft force structure, it continues to buy more aircraft for the booming mission. On May 20, USAF announced a $72 million contract modification award to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for eight more MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 production aircraft. Work on the extension will be performed at the company’s facility in Poway, Calif., and will be complete by December 2017. The Block 5 variant, an upgrade from the original Block 1 “Predator B,” offers greater electrical power, more gross takeoff weight, enhanced communications and payload integration, and “trailing arm” main landing gear.