In addition to its military roles, the Italian Air Force is also considers using the drones domestically, in support of the Italian police. Photo: General Atomics
[nonmember]Page 2 of this article is open to subscribers only[nonmember][ismember]
The drones will be controlled from a Mobile Ground Control Stations Block 30 (Hague may also opt for the more advanced ‘Block 50’ version) enabling the Dutch operators to control their drones from two forward locations using deployable satellite communications earth terminals. The flight of 4 MQ-9 Reapers along with a Ground Station will be fully air deployable and self-supporting for global operations.

They will carry two primary payloads – the Raytheon AN/DAS-1 Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS)-B and General Atomics Lynx synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) sensor designed for use over land and Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) capability, supporting maritime surveillance applications. Other payloads will include electronic support measures (ESM).

The MQ-9 will be deployed with 306 squadron based at the Leeuwarden airbase, the squadron will begin receiving the Reapers and their associated equipment in mid 2016. General Atomics has already prepared the support for the new drones in country under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2013 with Fokker Technologies.

Netherlands will initially use the MQ-9 for military reconnaissance missions, in support of NATO and peacekeeping operations overseas. In the future it could also support homeland security applications conducting surveillance over the Netherlands, supporting the National Police, Border Patrol, naval and environmental agencies.

The Italian Air Force is also considers using the drones domestically, in support of the Italian police. Crowd-control missions were named among the future, potential applications. Such mission would require special training for operators. The Italian Air Force is considering the establishment of a special training center for drones operators, to be based in Italy, and support domestic as well as other European drone operators.[/ismember]