Washington (UPI) Dec 24, 2018 –

General Atomics and Raytheon have each been awarded contracts for support of the MQ-9 Reaper, one for sensors and the other for overall program support, that come to a total of more than $350 million.

The contracts, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, cover separate areas of sustainment for the unmanned aerial system used for surveillance and support of ground troops, though they have also been used for emergency search and rescue and other missions.

The MQ-9 has a flight ceiling of about 40,000 feet and can be armed with laser-guided missiles and bombs, including the Hellfire and GBU-12 Paveway, as well as GPS-guided GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

The drone has long-range endurance and loiter time and carries a variety of infrared cameras laser designators and video systems, with uplink/downlink capabilities allowing it to share sensor data in real time.

General Atomics received a $291 million contract that covers program management, logistics support, management and repairs, most of which is expected to be performed in Poway, Calif.

Work on the contract is expected to run through December 2019, with $51 million awarded to the company from Air Force fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds upon award.

The Raytheon contract is valued at more than $59 million and covers sensors contractor logistics support and all related services and maintainance, which work performed in McKinney, Texas.

Work on the contract is also expected to run through the end of 2019, with the Air Force obligating more than $37 million to Raytheon from fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds at the time of award.

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