Armed Conflicts
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USA are ready to send MQ-9 Reaper Drones to Ukraine - The changes in the operations

It is known that the USA will not provide F-16 fighters that Zelensky requested.

However "USA Offers MQ-9 Reaper Drones to Ukraine! General Atomics Ready to Sell 'Leading' UAV for $1 — WSJ," according to an International Media article whose highlights are:

"General Atomics, a leading USA drone manufacturer, has offered to sell the Ukrainian government two MQ-9 Reaper drones for one dollar.

Διαθέτοντας απαράμιλλη λειτουργική ευελιξία, το MQ-9 Reaper είναι ένα πρωτοποριακό drone με εντυπωσιακή ταχύτητα και εμβέλεια. Η αμερικανική κατασκευάστρια όπλων φέρεται να προσφέρει αυτό το προηγμένο drone στην Ουκρανία για ένα δολάριο.


According to the letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal, in addition to the one dollar, the agreement calls for Kyiv to pay about $10 million for the preparation and development of the aircraft in Ukraine, as well as $8 million annually for maintenance and maintenance of older models of drones.

The proposed plan would include a ground control station that would allow the drones to operate almost anywhere.

The Reaper can be armed and has a wingspan of about 66 feet. It can stay in the air for more than 24 hours.

An older model of the drone, the MQ-9A Block 1 aircraft, offered by the company would typically cost several million dollars each.

Linden Blue, CEO of General Atomics, which makes the Reapers, made the proposal to Ukraine's defense attache in Washington last week, the report said.

However, neither the USA nor the Ukrainian government has commented on the proposal. The General Atomics spokesman said the company could not comment on specific deals, but believed Ukraine urgently needed a boost, such as the Reaper.

Mark Brinkley, a spokesman for General Atomics, said General Atomics has been talking with the Ukrainian government about the needs of its military forces for several months and remains committed to helping them in any way it can.

The Gray Eagle and Reaper drones, both produced by General Atomics, would allow Ukrainian forces to target and monitor Russian troops from a safer distance.

The White House is reluctant to supply the Gray Eagles, which are currently operated by the US military, as officials believe that if the aircraft is shot down, its sensitive equipment, such as the camera, could end up in Russian hands. .

The US Air Force flies Reapers, which are larger and can carry a heavier payload.

The Biden administration must still approve the transfer of technology to Ukraine before the sale of the drones can proceed. General Atomics, however, is offering to sell the Reapers to the Ukrainian government directly rather than through the US government.

MQ-9 Drone for Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities met with General Atomics in April 2022 to discuss the possible purchase of armed Reaper and Predator drones.

The US Department of Defense was reportedly considering selling four armed MQ-1C Gray Eagle Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles to Ukraine in June 2022, according to information that emerged at the time.

The plans were shelved, however, due to concerns that the technology would fall into Russian hands.

The Ukrainians, who have been asking Washington for the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle for months, are frustrated by the Pentagon's indecision despite assurances that they would only use the donated drones to attack Russian positions inside the country. Ukraine and that they would share targeting data with the US before launching strikes.

These drones are vital to the Ukrainian military, as they both have long-range surveillance and strike capabilities.

The drone, which was widely used in the war in Afghanistan, has "a unique capability" to carry out strike operations, collect data and track "high-value" targets.

General Atomics officials have been in contact with Ukrainian authorities for months to reach an agreement on technology transfers that would comply with U.S. regulations and concerns.

According to reports, the US military is considering modifying MQ-9 drones so that, even if some of them are destroyed, there is less risk of exposing critical technology.

While it's unclear which drone technology is the most sensitive, experts say it has to do with image and information gathering capabilities and sensors.

The Pentagon is primarily concerned about Raytheon Technologies' Multi-Spectral Targeting System, an electro-optical/infrared ball installed on the Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (MSTS). This electro-optical/infrared ball allows users to aim and track targets in real time.

The drones will undoubtedly equip the Ukrainian military with vital capabilities to track and target Russian forces, if approved."

Any deployment of US UAVs to Ukraine will have negative consequences for the Russian Armed Forces, however in small numbers it will not bring about a substantial change in the course of operations.




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