A bipartisan group of 16 US senators in a letter have asked the joe Biden administration to carefully reconsider giving Ukraine the lethal Gray Eagle drones to fight Russia.
Several senators, including Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Joe Manchin, who are both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have expressed alarm at US opposition to the proposal and stated that providing the armable drone “demands careful reconsideration.”
Reuters reports that the group has asked Pentagon to explain why Ukraine’s request for the drones has so far been rejected. Ukraine has made multiple appeals for the said drones. Here’s all you need to know:
Why are these drones special?
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone as per Reuters has an operational ceiling of 29,000 feet. This capability can go a long way in helping Ukraine in its defence and would “represent a great technological leap” for the country.
Does Ukraine only want these particular drones?
No, as Russia increasingly uses kamikaze drones and targets civilian infrastructure, Ukraine has made several requests for the United States to give it sophisticated drones. Its most recent request was for anti-drone missiles.
Why is the US hesitant to grant Ukraine’s request?
While the Pentagon hasn’t publicly stated its position, it is believed that the denial was motivated by worries that the drones could intensify the conflict and the belief that they are not necessary for Ukraine’s military effort. Additionally, there are concerns that drones might be shot down.
The senators as per a Wall Street Journal report have given Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin until November 30 to respond to their questions. They want to know why the Pentagon considered the drone, produced by General Atomics, was inappropriate for the conflict in Ukraine; whether US worries about technology transfer could be alleviated; and whether the Pentagon feared that launching the drone would further enrage Russia.
(With inputs from agencies)
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