The Biden administration won’t give Ukraine advanced drones despite pleas from Kyiv and a bipartisan group of members of Congress, WSJ reports.
Citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter, WSJ says the Pentagon believes Gray Eagle MQ-1C drones could escalate the conflict and signal to Moscow that the US was providing weapons that could target positions inside Russia. Worries that Russia could gain access to US technology if the drone was shot down were a secondary matter.
Plans of the US to sell these drones capable of flying over 30 hours, gathering huge amounts of intelligence, carrying 8 powerful Hellfire missiles, and thus capable of deep strikes into Russian territory, were first reported by Reuters in June.
Areas that the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drone can reach when launched from major Ukrainian Airports, courtesy of @ukraine_map
With a range of 400km & speed up to 280km/h, the drone mainly does reconnaissance but can also be used as a strike drone. The US plans to sell Ukraine 4 of them pic.twitter.com/P8XXJNP9J4
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 2, 2022
Later in June, Reuters reported that the plan hit a snag, as the Pentagon feared their sophisticated equipment would fall into Russian hands.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration has held off on approving Ukrainian request for long-range armed drones, concerned that the technology could wind up in Russian hands if captured.