Navy Orders Reaper ISR Services for Marine Corps

A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flight line at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Naval Air Systems Command awarded General Atomics a $36.5 million contract modification to provide ISR services with the Reaper. U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. John Bainter

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy has awarded a contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services though use of Group 5 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to a May 30 Defense Department contract announcement, Naval Air Systems Command awarded GA-ASI a $36.5 million contract modification to provide ISR services with contractor-owned/contractor-operated MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, the same UAV used by the U.S. Air Force.

The Marine Corps extensively has used contractor ISR services in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, with the smaller Insitu ScanEagle, and has employed its new service-owned Boeing Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack UAV in the same roles. The use of the larger Reaper is filling a gap in ISR coverage for the Marine Corps.

The Corps has developed a requirement for its own Reapers and has requested two in the fiscal 2020 defense budget. The current contract modification is for nine months of Reaper services, scheduled to run through February 2020 at overseas locations and at Yuma, Arizona.