23/12/2020

Congress resurrects MQ-9 program, adding 16 UAVs for the Air Force

Congress resurrects MQ-9 Reaper program, adding 16 drones for the Air Force – link

Source: Defense News

Article Headlines
  • Buried inside the massive $2.3 trillion spending package was a $286 million lifeline for General Atomics that will keep the Air Force buying MQ-9 Reaper drones at least one more year
  • In its fiscal 2021 budget request, the Air Force eliminated funding to procure the Reaper, instead requesting about $172 million to begin shutting down General Atomics’ production line in Poway, California
  • The decision would have meant a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for the company, as the Air Force previously intended to buy nine MQ-9s in FY21, 17 in FY22, two in FY23 and three in FY24, according to spending plans issued in FY20
  • Luckily for General Atomics, Congress has formally rejected the Air Force’s plan
  • In its $696 billion spending bill for the Defense Department, lawmakers added about $286 million to buy 16 MQ-9 Reaper drones for the Air Force. That sum brings total procurement funding for the MQ-9 to approximately $344 million in FY21
  • Both chambers approved the legislation and it now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature
  • Whether Congress would intervene to save the MQ-9 program had been a major question for defense budget watchers. In July, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled its version of the defense spending bill that included additional funds for 16 MQ-9s. But when its Senate counterpart released its own proposal in November, it contained no money to buy additional Reapers, leaving the fate of the production line in limbo
  • It is unclear whether the Air Force will attempt to shutter MQ-9 production in FY22, but over the past year the service has ramped up its pursuit of a Reaper replacement
  • The Air Force issued a request for information to industry on June 3 for the so-called MQ-Next program
Overview & Comments
Share the article
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Contact Us

And find how our services can benefit your company

Latest articles