The U.S. fears that Russia could get advanced Gray Eagle drone technology. Its maximum flight altitude is 8 km, it can be armed with eight Hellfire missiles. Reuters wrote that the Pentagon opposed
Gray Eagle ER
White House refrains from selling requested long-range MQ-1 °C Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine due to risk of advanced technology falling into Russian hands forces. This is reported by The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed US officials.
This is one of several reasons why the Gray Eagle deal has yet to be approved by US authorities. Another reason was the need to train the Ukrainian military to control drones, the newspaper writes.
The Gray Eagle drone is a version of the more famous Predator drone. The flight duration is up to 30 hours. The drone can be used for both reconnaissance and strikes— it can be equipped with eight Hellfire missiles.
The Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly turned to the United States and other Western countries with a request to transfer or sell more modern weapons. They asked to sell Gray Eagle in Kyiv about two months ago— in the end of April. The United States has already supplied Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones to Ukraine, but the Ukrainian authorities are interested in Gray Eagle and Reaper because of the ability of these models to travel a considerable distance, fly at high altitude and recharge.
Kyiv has held relevant negotiations with the manufacturing company General Atomics, but the supply of attack drones falls under the US missile technology control regime (MTCR), which limits transactions in relation to them. Politico wrote that a number of US partners tried unsuccessfully to obtain them, including Qatar and Indonesia.
According to Reuters, we are talking about the transfer of four Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine, this issue had been considered by the Pentagon for several weeks by the beginning of June. Politico pointed out that it takes months to learn how to use this drone model, in addition, special infrastructure is needed— encrypted communication channels, airstrips and special equipment.
By mid-June, the Gray Eagle sale stalled. The objection to the deal was raised by the Pentagon's Office of Defense Technology Security, a division dedicated to securing high-value technology so it doesn't end up in the wrong hands, sources told Reuters.
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The Russian authorities are critical of the supply of Western countries with weapons to Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry warned that they consider convoys with him a legitimate target for strikes, the Kremlin argued that “these weapons are not enough to stop our offensive, and they will not prevent us from achieving our goals.” “Their air defense systems are cracking like nuts,” — said President Vladimir Putin.
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