Defense

Biden administration planning to sell armed drones to Ukraine: report

Local residents stand next to a school destroyed in a Russian bombing in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. The town of Bakhmut has been coming under increasing artillery strikes, particularly over the last week, as Russian forces try to press forward to encircle the city of Sieverodonetsk to the northeast. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to sell armed drones that can carry Hellfire missiles to Ukraine, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The U.S. is looking to sell four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones made by General Atomics, sources told the outlet. The drones can be armed with Hellfire missiles.

The administration plans to notify Congress of the sale in the coming days and make a public announcement afterward.

A State Department spokesperson didn’t directly dispute the report but told The Hill “as a matter of policy, we do not confirm or publicly comment on proposed defense transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress.”

The spokesperson added that “as the conflict is changing and Ukraine’s defense needs change so too has our support for Ukraine’s defense.”    

“We continue to closely consult with our Ukrainian partners to ensure U.S. military assistance is adapting as needed to deliver the critical capabilities for today’s fight, such as this week’s announcement of plans to transfer Multiple Launch Rocket Systems,” they added.

The Pentagon didn’t comment on the report when reached by The Hill.

The Gray Eagle is larger than the drones that Ukraine has been using to fend off Russia’s invasion so far. The 28-foot unmanned aircraft can last more than 27 hours and hold up to four Hellfire missiles, according to the Army’s acquisition website.

The report comes as the administration signals that it’s willing to send Ukraine more advanced weaponry while not directly engaging in conflict with Russia.

The White House on Wednesday announced that it would send Ukraine four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems as part of a $700 million weapons package. The administration stressed, however, that the systems wouldn’t be used to target Russian territory.

Tags Biden Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war
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