MQ-9 Reaper: Unfettered for Export
January 4/20: Mission Control Element Group B.L. Harbert International LLC won a $46.5 million contract for the construction of facilities to support the cultural and process improvement program MQ-9 Mission Control Element Group at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The contract also contains 11 unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $55,395,736. The work to be performed provides for the construction of a headquarters building and an operations building which will house a multitude of various MQ-9 missions in support of the remote piloted aircraft program and operation needs. The complex will be focused around an exterior courtyard that promotes interaction amongst squadron personnel while allowing for a shared entry access point from the parking areas. The facilities design will utilize the roof lines to create a visually integrated complex. The options, if exercised, provide for a roadway and roundabout, landscape architecture enhancement, overhead electrical line relocation, data center cabinets and racks at the operations building, an electronic security system (ESS) at the operations building, an ESS at the headquarters building, furniture, fixtures and equipment at the headquarters and operations buildings and an audio visual package at the headquarters and operations buildings. Work will take place in South Carolina. Expected completion will be in December 2022.
The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some have called it the first fielded Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
The Reaper UCAV will play a significant role in the future USAF, even though its capability set makes the MQ-9 considerably more expensive than MQ-1 Predators. Given these high-end capabilities and expenses, one may not have expected the MQ-9 to enjoy better export success than its famous cousin. Nevertheless, that’s what appears to be happening. MQ-9 operators currently include the USA and Britain, who use it in hunter-killer mode, and Italy. Several other countries are expressing interest, and the steady addition of new payloads are expanding the Reaper’s advantage over competitors…
The MQ-9 Reaper, and its Little Brothers
Competitors & Prospects
Future Planning & Developments
Contracts & Key Events, 2005 SDD – Present
FY 2014 – 2020
FY 2005 – 2007
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: The Reaper Family
Background: Reaper Ancillaries
News & Views
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