Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it plans to award a sole-source contract to General Atomics to buy up to 14 additional MQ-9 Predator unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and related equipment as well as operations and maintenance (O&M) services, according to an agency notice in the FedBizOpps.

The pending award follows one last month given by CBP to General Atomics valued at up to $128.3 million for O&M services for the agency’s existing fleet of Predator UAS. The initial task order for that award is $24.5 million.

CBP’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) currently has nine MQ-9 aircraft, five of which are the baseline Predator B, which are used for border patrol surveillance and operations, and the Guardian, a multirole version of the aircraft that can deploy with maritime and land radar systems. Currently an additional Guardian is under contract for future delivery.

The pending contract includes $237.7 million for the 14 aircraft and related systems. Those aircraft would be procured through an initial task order and three options.

The task orders for O&M support over a five-year period would be worth up to $205.4 million if all options are exercised.

When and if additional aircraft are purchased remains to be seen. The Guardian UAS on order was budgeted for in FY ’11 and CBP didn’t request any MQ-9 UAS in either FY ’12 or FY ’13.

The OAM requirement stands at 24 UAS.