Congress rejects Air Force plan to discontinue Reaper unmanned drones; approves $286 million for 16 more

Jan. 11, 2021
It’s unclear if the Air Force will attempt to shutter MQ-9 production next year, but the service has ramped-up its pursuit of a Reaper replacement.

WASHINGTON – Buried inside the $2.3 trillion spending package approved by Congress last month was a $286 million lifeline for General Atomics that will keep the Air Force buying MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at least one more year. Defense News reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

11 Jan. 2020 -- 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, Calif.

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 this year, 17 in 2022, two in 2023 and three in 2024, according to spending plans issued in 2020.

In its $696 billion spending bill for the U.S. Department of Defense, 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 about $344 million this year.

Related: General Atomics to build year’s worth of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat drones

Related: Air Force asks General Atomics to upgrade 122 MQ-9 Block 5 Reaper unmanned attack drones

Related: Air Force to buy Raytheon multispectral UAV sensor payloads for Reaper hunter-killer drone

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!