Canberra has tapped General Atomics to provide its MQ-9 Reaper for the country’s AIR 7003 requirement.

“These new aircraft will provide enhanced firepower and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to a range of missions,” says Australia's defence minister Christopher Pyne.

“Medium altitude, long endurance (MALE), remotely piloted aircraft have a far greater range than smaller remotely piloted aircraft and can continuously observe an area of interest for much longer than manned reconnaissance aircraft.”

FlightGlobal understand that Canberra will acquire between 12-18 examples.

The aircraft will be used to mainly to assist Australian and coalition land forces, as well as provide support for humanitarian missions and disaster relief operation.

Israel Aerospace Industries also promoted its Heron TP system for the requirement.