The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is to upgrade its fleet of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reapers, including the integration of weapons onto the uncrewed air vehicles.

In a series of incremental enhancements over the next three years, GA-ASI will add new payloads to the Reapers, including a maritime radar, communications relay, extended-range fuel tanks, electronic support measures, and weapons.

Dutch Reaper-c-Royal Netherlands Air Force

Source: Royal Netherlands Air Force

Reaper fleet will be upgraded over next three years

In 2023, the Netherlands announced it would double its Reaper fleet from four to eight units and would also acquire armaments for the platform, including Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

US approvals for the platform and weapons purchases via Washington’s Foreign Military Sales process were granted in July 2023 and February this year. Deliveries of the new Block 5 Reapers will begin in 2026.

“The RNLAF is using the MQ-9A for an increasing set of NATO missions,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Ruedisueli, commander of the service’s 306 Sqn.

“With these upgrades, we will support NATO’s ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and maritime surveillance missions throughout Europe.”