General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) received an USD 13,06 million contract from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for another two MQ-9A Reapers that will be delivered to the US Marine Corps.
The duo will primarily be used for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), close air support and buddy-lase and its secondary mission will be dynamic targeting. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons, the Reaper is a welcome addition to the USMC inventory.
On 22 June 2020, GA-ASI was awarded a first contract worth USD 27 million, that contained two MQ-9s. The aircraft will be assigned to the Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 1 Watchdogs.
The USMC force design plan 2030 show the force will get three new unmanned squadrons in the next ten years. These squadrons will be added to the current UAS tactical platforms and which are not able to operate with lethal weapons. Currently the USMC primarily operates the small RQ-21 Blackjack that is primarily focused on intelligence gathering.
In March 2020, VMU-1 started its first operations, at that time with company owned, government operated (CoGO) Reapers in the Middle East for the first time.