France gives green light for the purchase of a third MQ-9 Reaper UAV

World Defense & Security News - France
France gives green light for the purchase of a third MQ-9 Reaper UAS
The United States Air Force Materiel Command has officially announced yesterday the urgent request from the French Defense Ministry for a third General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system. The French Air Force has already acquired two MQ-9 Reaper, which performed first operational flight in January 2014.
France's General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system
The contract for this third Reaper will be awarded on July 29 2015, for a total amount of $3,833,829.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed the order of the two first MQ-9 Reapers on 31 May 2013. The Reaper was chosen to replace the EADS Harfang and was picked over the Israeli Heron TP.

On 27 June 2013, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to France for 16 unarmed MQ-9s, associated equipment, ground control hardware, and support, worth up to $1.5 billion total. On 26 August 2013, France and the US Department of Defense concluded the deal for 16 Reapers and 8 ground control stations, with French operators beginning training.

The MQ-9 Reaper (previously Predator B) is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft system. (UAS), capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI).

The aircraft was designed primarily to prosecute critical emerging Time Sensitive Targets (TSTs) as a radar-based attack asset with on-board hard-kill capability (hunter-killer) and also perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Target Acquisition (ISR TA) as a secondary role. In the hunter-killer role, the aircraft will employ fused multi-spectral sensors to automatically find, fix, and track ground targets (Automatic Target Cueing (ATC), Target Location Accuracy (TLA), Metric Sensor and other capabilities) and assess post-strike results. The MQ-9 was also to be explored for potential Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Sensors capabilities.