Reaper MQ-9A UAVs headed to Poland in $70M lease deal - M5 Dergi
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Reaper MQ-9A UAVs headed to Poland in $70M lease deal

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The General Atomics announcement comes amid a defense spending splurge from Warsaw.

Poland will become the latest international customer to fly the MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle, thanks to a new leasing deal with General Atomics, the company announced today.

The deal, for an undisclosed number of drones, is valued at $70.6 million, GA said in a news release, which directly linked the deal to the war in Ukraine.

“GA-ASI’s support for Poland and the NATO alliance is steadfast as they confront the ongoing war in the region,” General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) CEO Linden Blue said. “We look forward to delivering our proven MQ-9A platform system to Poland to enhance the nation’s ability to conduct persistent airborne ISR iIntelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] and support its Defense Forces.”

A Polish acquisition official previewed the deal earlier this month, indicating on Twitter that it had been signed Oct. 20. He also suggested that Poland aimed to purchase the MQ-9B, the newer maritime surveillance version of the drone. As far back as March, Warsaw said it was eager to get its hands on the Reaper.

GA said the MQ-9A is currently flown by the US, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Both the UK and Belgium have the MQ-9B. American MQ-9As have been flown from Poland by the US Air Force since 2019.

The GA announcement came the same day US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Polish defense chief Mariusz Blaszczak. The two discussed support for Ukraine, which borders Poland to the east, and they “agreed to continue to work closely together to enhance Alliance deterrence and defense,” the Pentagon said.

Warsaw has been on something of a buying spree and modernization drive lately, including deals for Korean-made tanks, howitzers, light combat aircraft and rocket systems. At the beginning of the month, Poland and the UK signed an agreement to develop future weapon systems. The eastern European nation also took first delivery of the start of the largely-homegrown Narew SHORAD system.

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