Italy - Weaponization of MQ-9s

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2015 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Italy for weaponization of MQ-9s and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $129.6 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 3, 2015.

The Government of Italy requested a possible sale of Major Defense Equipment (MDE) items including one hundred and fifty-six (156) AGM-114R2 HELLFIRE II Missiles; eight (8) HELLFIRE II, M36-E8 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); and thirty (30) GBU-12 Laser Guided Bombs. Non-MDE items requested include thirty (30) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs); five (5) HELLFIRE M34 Dummy Missiles; thirty (30) GBU-49 Enhanced Laser Guided Bombs; thirty (30) GBU-54 Laser JDAMs; twenty-six (26) Bomb Racks; six (6) MQ-9 weaponization kits and installation; thirteen (13) M-299 launchers; two (2) AN/AWM-103 test suites; personnel weapons training/equipment; spare parts; support equipment; publications and technical data; U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance; and other related elements of program and logistics support. The estimated MDE value is $18 million. The estimated total value is $129.6 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the capability of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally that has been an integral member of every recent NATO and U.S.-led operation. It is in the U.S. strategic interest to support Italy’s security contributions as a capable and interoperable ally. Italy is a major political and economic power in NATO and a key democratic partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability around the world.

Italy requests to arm its MQ-9 Reapers for three primary reasons: 1) to support and enhance burden sharing in NATO and coalition operations; 2) to increase operational flexibility; and 3) to increase the survivability of Italian deployed forces. Italy currently operates the MQ-9 system and will have no difficulty incorporating this added capability into its Air Force.

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

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

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Italy.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. All defense articles/services have been approved for release by our foreign disclosure office.

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

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,