ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Poland is close to finalizing the acquisition of MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones from General Atomics, following two years of leasing the Reaper model, according to the company’s president.

Since October 2022, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has been under contract by the Polish government to fly company-owned MQ-9A Reapers on reconnaissance missions over the eastern European country.

“With the Poland mission, we’re learning new things about this portion of eastern Europe and the overall threat environment there, and these lessons are feeding into new tactics and approaches for these operations,” C. Mark Brinkley, senior director of communications with the company, told Defense News at the UMEX trade show here this week.

Polish leaders have said they want to buy the SkyGuardian variant, which has greater endurance, range and payload capability. The number of drones sough by Warsaw has not been made public.

According to GA-ASI’s chief executive, the signature of a contract is imminent, which could prove to be a substantial boost to the country’s reconnaissance capabilities as it shares a border with Ukraine.

“Negotiations for Poland to acquire the MQ-9B are very close to being finalized,” company president Dave Alexander said.

Last year, the company offered to provide two Reaper drones to Ukraine for the symbolic price tag of $1. The offer still stands but has yet to receive approval from the U.S. government.

A number of Ukrainian industry experts present at the show here told Defense News that Russia’s jamming of unmanned aircraft is a major problem on the battlefield.

General Atomics has taken note, according to Alexander. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying we are investing more than we already have, but we’re definitely paying more attention to mitigation techniques,” he said.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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