AFP: A leading US maker of advanced military surveillance drones announced yesterday that it was willing to sell two to Ukraine for just $1, and called on the US government to approve the deal.
General Atomic Aeronautical Systems said it had been urging Washington for months to provide Ukraine its powerful Grey Eagle and Reaper drones, which US forces have used to great effect in surveillance and targeted attacks over Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones. It said the drones, which can fly long distances at mid-altitudes, are one of the most obvious, force-enhancing technologies that Ukraine needs in its war against Russian forces. The US military has provided Ukraine with a number of small attack and surveillance drones, but nothing with the advanced technologies and long-range abilities like General Atomic’s unmanned aircraft. “From the outset of the Russian invasion, we began looking for options to respond to the requests of Ukrainian forces with our products, including the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle,” General Atomics chief executive Linden Blue said in a statement.