United States Will Sell 18 MQ-9B Reaper Drones to UAE

UEA's MQ-9B Reaper drone
UEA's MQ-9B Reaper drone
Militarymedia.net - The United States (US) will sell 18 state-of-the-art MQ-9B aerial drones to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a $ 2.9 billion deal. The US State Department has notified Congress about the sale plan.

The move comes after notification last week of a potential sale of the F-35 fighter jet to the oil-rich Gulf nation and one of Washington's closest Middle Eastern allies.

The sale will mark the first armed drone export since the Trump administration reinterpreted a Cold War-era arms agreement between 34 countries to allow US defense contractors to sell more drones to allies.

Reuters reports the UAE has long shown interest in buying drones from the US and will be one of the first customers to queue up after US export policies change this summer.

The $ 600 million deal to sell four unarmed but ready-to-arm SeaGuardian MQ-9B drones to Taiwan is the first to be formally announced to Congress on Tuesday.

This informal notification for Reaper-type drones is a precursor to the US State Department's official and public notices.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives - whose members have criticized the UAE's role in civilian deaths in Yemen's civil war - have the ability to review and block arms sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its official notification to the legislative branch.

"The US State Department may be waiting to officially notify Congress about the sale after staff and members have been briefed on a potential sale," said one source.

The official notice gives Congress 30 days to deny any sale.

"As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on any proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress," a State Department spokesman told Reuters.

The armed MQ-9B drones will also be equipped with maritime radars and can be delivered by 2024. The package notified to Congress is for 15 with an option for three additional drones.

The UAE is also seeking the Boeing Co EA-18G Growlers package, an electronic warfare version of the two-seat F / A-18F Super Hornet, capable of jamming radar and other advanced capabilities. Growler is operated by the US and Australia.

The UAE has long expressed interest in acquiring the F-35 stealth jet and was promised the opportunity to buy it in a side deal that was concluded when they agreed to normalize relations with Israel. The informal notification for 50 Lockheed Martin Co F-35 jets was made on 29 October.

But any agreement the US makes to sell arms in the region must meet a decades-old agreement with Israel under which US-made weapons must not undermine Israel's "qualitative military advantage", ensuring US weapons supplied to Israel are "superior in capability" to those sold. to his neighbors.

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