An American arms manufacturer offered Ukraine two drones of the type “MQ-9 Reapers″, valued at tens of millions of dollars, at the price of one dollar to help the country defend itself, as it prepares for an expected Russian offensive, reported The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The sale of long-range, high-speed “Reaper” drones would require the endorsement of the Joe Biden administrationaccording to the newspaper, which has had access to the company’s proposal general atomicsmanufacturer of these devices.
The deal would, however, require kyiv to invest around 10 million dollars to facilitate the transfer of devices to Ukraine and others 8 million each year for maintenance of these huge drones and older ones, which are currently not used in Ukraine.
The proposal, made last week by Linden BlueCEO of the company Ukrainian Defense Attaché in Washingtonwould also include the installation of a ground control station to operate the drones.
According to the newspaper, the White Housewhich would have to approve the sale, declined to comment on the matter and was not confirmed by the Ukrainian government either.
A spokesperson for general atomics told the wsj that the company could not discuss specific arms-related deals, but added that they believe “that Ukraine needs a capability like the Reaper and soon”.
“General Atomics has been discussing the requirements of the Ukrainian armed forces with their government for many months and remains committed to supporting them in any way possible,” he said. C. Mark Brinkleyspokesman for the American company.
USA has provided more than 700 drones smaller ones to Ukraine over the past year, including tactical drones.”switchblade”, the newspaper specified.
These drones are not armed, but can be carried in backpacks and are used, loaded with explosives, to crash into targets. They have been widely used to defend Ukrainian positions, recalls the newspaper.
The Reapers it is a much more complex drone, with significantly greater range, speeds and capabilities. It has a wingspan of about 20 meters, can be equipped with weapons and, according to the wsjyou can fly for more than 24 hours without refueling.
USA is preparing a military aid to Ukraine worth more than 2 billion dollarswhich is expected to include for the first time longer range rocketsas well as other ammunition and weapons, they said on Tuesday to Reuters two US officials familiar with the matter.
Arms aid is expected to be announced later this week. It is also expected to include support teams for the Patriot air defense systemsprecision-guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons, they added.
One of the officials said that a part of the package, which is expected to be 1.725 million dollarswould come from a fund known as Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI)), which allows the administration of President Joe Biden to source weapons from industry instead of existing US weapons stockpiles.
The USAI funds would go towards the purchase of a new weapon, the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) manufactured by Boeing Co.which has a range of 150 kilometers.
The United States has rejected Ukraine’s requests to acquire the ATACMS missile with a range of 297 kilometers.
(With information from EFE and Reuters)
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