U.S. approves Italy's request to weaponize Reapers

The State Department will let the NATO member outfit its MQ-9 drones with Hellfire missiles.

MQ-9 Reaper UAS

The potential sale would allow Italy to outfit Reapers with Hellfire missiles and other munitions.


The State Department this week approved a possible sale to Italy that would enable the weaponization of U.S.-made MQ-9 Reapers used by the country’s military, according to a release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 

The potential sale, which DCSA notified Congress of Nov. 3, would make Italy the second U.S. NATO partner, along with the U.K., to use weaponized Reapers. Among other countries, only Israel and Pakistan have used armed drones, although other countries, including China, Russia, France, South Africa, Iran and Nigeria, are believed to have the capability.

Italy asked for the weaponized unmanned systems for three reasons, DSCA said: to support NATO and coalition operations, to increase its operational flexibility and to better protect Italian forces.

The total cost of the sale is estimated at $129.6 million and would include $18 million worth of munitions, including:

  • 156 AGM-114R2 Hellfire II Missiles;
  • eight Hellfire II, M36-E8 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs);
  • 30 GBU-12 Laser Guided Bombs..
  • 30 GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs);
  • five Hellfire M34 Dummy Missiles;
  • 30 GBU-49 Enhanced Laser Guided Bombs;
  • 30 GBU-54 Laser JDAMs; twenty-six (26) Bomb Racks;
  • six MQ-9 weaponization kits and installation;
  • 13 M-299 launchers;
  • two 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 State Department in February released a fact sheet concerning a new export policy for military unmanned systems. “The new export policy is part of a broader United States UAS policy review which includes plans to work with other countries to shape international standards for the sale, transfer, and subsequent use of military UAS,” the fact sheet said.

The policy requires that sales be made through the government-to-government Foreign Military Sales program and be reviewed through the Defense Department’s Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure processes. Any country receiving the weapons also must agree to end-use assurances, end-use monitoring and potential additional security conditions.

The United States also requires the recipients:

  • Use the systems in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
  • Engage them in use of force only when there is a lawful basis under international law, such as national self-defense;
  • Not use military UAS to conduct unlawful surveillance or use unlawful force against their domestic populations;
  • Provide UAS operators technical and doctrinal training on the use of the systems to reduce the risk of unintended injury or damage.

Italy already operates U.S.-made Reaper drones for surveillance and “will have no difficulty incorporating this added [weaponized] capability into its Air Force,” DCSA said, while contending that the sale would improve U.S. national security by strengthening a key NATO ally.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.