General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiss defence company Ruag to market its Predator B unmanned air system to the German military.

The Predator B, designated MQ-9 Reaper by the US and other militaries, will be marketed by Ruag to bridge the gap between the present day and Germany's prospective 2013 Saateg, which will provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance services over Afghanistan.

 RAF Reaper UAV - Crown Copyright
© Crown Copyright
Current Predator B operators include the UK Royal Air Force

"Ruag's expertise and know-how in the development, manufacture, maintenance, and logistics support of aircraft systems for the German armed forces constitutes a strong complement to GA-ASI's technical competence and expertise in the design, development, production, and operational support of Predator-class UAS with various integrated reconnaissance payloads," says Neal Blue, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems chief executive.

The MQ-9 was strongly considered by the German military for a similar contract in 2007.

Although the proposed deal reached the point where the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential sale, the purchase was cancelled and Germany instead leased Israel Aerospace Industries Herons, which are now in use in Afghanistan.

Source: Flight International