Tags: drones | sales | retrictions

Trump Administration Eases Restrictions for Large Drone Sales

Trump Administration Eases Restrictions for Large Drone Sales
Military drones. (Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 24 July 2020 06:36 PM

President Donald Trump signed a change in policy on Friday that will allow defense contractors who manufacture large military unmanned drones to more easily sell the aircraft to friendly foreign governments.

The change involves how the United States categorizes the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTRC), a three-decade old informal agreement between 35 nations that was intended to limit the proliferation of missiles, particularly cruise missiles.

“We think this kind of reform is necessary in order to respond to a rapidly changing technological environment,” according to a statement by R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs quoted by DefenseOne.

“With the growing proliferation of UAS technology, particularly by China, coupled with a growing demand for UAS for both military and commercial applications, we need to adjust U.S. policies to address U.S. national security concerns.”

The change will only affect the larger, slower “category one” drones – which fly under 500 mph (800 kph), such as General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper and Northrup Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Since the MTRC was primarily intended to halt the sale of cruise missiles with a “presumption of denial” in requests to purchase them, the change signed Friday removes that restriction and reviews the requests under the same criteria as other military exports, DefenseNews said.

Defense contractors had complained the restriction was allowing China to sell copycat drones to U.S. allies and partners.

“In a sector of rapidly evolving technology, the MTCR’s standards are more than three decades old,” the White House said in a statement. “Not only do these outdated standards give an unfair advantage to countries outside of the MTCR and hurt United States industry, they also hinder our deterrence capability abroad by handicapping our partners and allies with subpar technology.”

The State Department had been requesting the change for more than two years.

“This policy change, in effect, modernizes our approach to implementing our MTCR commitments,” Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said on a conference call. “It makes it more reflective of technological realities. It helps our allies and partners. It helps them all meet their urgent national security and commercial requirements, and it also advances the United States’ national security and economic interests.”

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US
President Donald Trump signed a change in policy on Friday that will allow defense contractors who manufacture large military unmanned drones to more easily sell...
drones, sales, retrictions
378
2020-36-24
Friday, 24 July 2020 06:36 PM
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