> our title:

Pentagon Notifies Congress of $1.5Bn Reaper Sale to France

> original title:

France – MQ-9 Reapers

(Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency; issued June 27, 2013)

(See Editor’s Note at bottom)

WASHINGTON --- The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to France of 16 MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.

The Government of France has requested a possible sale of:
-- 16 MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft
-- 8 Mobile Ground Control Stations (GCS)
-- 48 Honeywell TPE331-10T Turboprop Engines (16 installed and 32 spares)
-- 24 Satellite Earth Terminal Substations
-- 40 Ku Band Link-Airborne Communication Systems
-- 40 General Atomics Lynx (exportable) Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) Systems
-- 40 AN/DAS-1 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS)-B
-- 40 Ground Data Terminals
-- 40 ARC-210 Radio Systems
-- 40 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems
-- 48 AN/APX-119 and KIV-119 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) Systems

Also provided are spare and repair parts, communication, test, and support equipment, publications and technical documentation, airworthiness and maintenance support, site surveys and bed down planning, personnel training and training equipment, operational flight test, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $1.5 billion.

France is one of the major political and economic powers in Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and an ally of the United States in the pursuit of peace and stability. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist France to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This potential sale will enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the French military in support of national, NATO, United Nation-mandated, and other coalition operations.

Commonality of ISR capabilities will greatly increase interoperability between the U.S and French military and peacekeeping forces.

France requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the U.S. The proposed sale will improve France’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing improved ISR coverage that promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, anticipates enemy intent, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support. France, which already has remotely piloted aircraft in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing this additional capability.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in San Diego, California. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to France and deployed location for U.S. contractor representatives to provide initial launch, recovery, and maintenance support.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above notification contradicts recent statements by French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on several points.
First of all, it makes no reference to the sale of two used Block 1 drones which were to be delivered by the end of 2013.
Secondly, it mentions the sale of 16 Reapers, while Le Drian had previously mentioned a maximum of 12 new aircraft in addition to the two used ones.
Thirdly, and most significantly, it makes no mention of any French-specific equipment that Le Drian had said would be fitted to adapt the drones to French operational and airworthiness requirements.
On the contrary, the notification includes a comprehensive list of US-specific communications and control equipment, which implies the Reapers will be operated from the United States and not from French territory and, more thus subject to US supervision and control.
The notification does not state which version of Reaper will be supplied to France.
The notification also states that US contractor representatives will travel to France, where the aircraft will presumably be based. This will require compliance with European air traffic regulations, which is not the case with current Reapers).