France has concluded a deal with the Pentagon to purchase 16 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and eight ground control stations, the US Department of Defense (DOD) confirms.
"The Letters of Offer and Acceptance have been signed for the Reapers as well as for the associated training case," says the Pentagon. "French operators are currently in training."
The sale is being handled via the DOD's foreign military sales vehicle, which covers the aircraft, control stations, support equipment and training, among other items. General Atomics, which builds the hardware, directed all enquires to the US Air Force but would not deny that two Reapers would be delivered to the French air force ahead of the remaining aircraft to support operations in Africa.
The Pentagon had issued a notification to Congress of the $1.5 billion sale on 27 June.