Air Force awards more than $328.8M to General Atomics for drone systems

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Dec. 26 (UPI) — General Atomics has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force for support and services of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems.

The contract, announced on Dec. 22 by the Pentagon, is worth more than $328.8 million under a cost-plus-fixed-fee agreement, which is a cost-reimbursement contract that would provide payment to General Atomics of a negotiated fee that is determined at the inception of the contract.

The deal will provide for “core management, logistics support, configuration management, technical manual and software maintenance, contractor field service representative support, inventory control point management, flight operations support, depot repair, and depot field maintenance,” the Department of Defense said.

The MQ-1 Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that has seen action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. The aircraft is used as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset, and can be used to conduct pattern-of-life analysis, as well as targeted and signature strikes on targets.

Similarly, the MQ-9 Reaper can conduct multi-missions, and as a medium-altitude range and long-endurance that is remotely piloted. The Reaper, however, is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and is used to conduct time-sensitive strikes on targets.

The Reaper is also used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.

Work on the contract will occur in Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed by December 2018.

More than $32.3 million has been obligated to General Atomics from fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds.

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