The Netherlands is to purchase four General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and related ground stations, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 21 November.
The first Reaper should be fully operational in 2016, the last the following year. As opposed to MQ-9/RQ-9 Reapers in service with the US Air Force and the UK Royal Air Force, the Dutch version will not be armed, although this could change in the future "with a minimum of modification", the MoD stated.
The Reaper was the only system available, the MoD said, that met its requirement to conduct surveillance-missions with an endurance "exceeding 24 hours". The sensor load will be as standard for the platform:
but will also include a special Dutch requirement to equip the UAVs with "a ground and surface radar with larger coverage" than standard and a specialised SIGINT pack.