US should give Ukraine armed drones, senators urge Biden Administration — WP

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A bipartisan group of US senators urged the Biden administration Tuesday to reconsider its decision not to give Ukraine advanced drones, saying that the technology could help Ukraine to hold its territory and gain battlefield momentum, Washington Post reports.

In a November 22 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, 16 senators urged the administration to give Ukraine MQ-1C armed drones, or Gray Eagles, which are medium-altitude drones that can fly for more than 24 hours.

“The long-term upside of providing Ukraine with the MQ-1C is significant and has the potential to drive the strategic course of the war in Ukraine’s favor,” the legislators wrote.

Among the signatories are Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is the outgoing ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.).

In the past few weeks of the nearly nine-month-long war, Iran has provided Russia with drones that have been pummeling Ukrainian population centers and civilian infrastructure, and which legislators said gave Russia a battlefield advantage. The Ukrainians should have a US-supplied arsenal to counter what Russia has received, they said.

“This system’s operational attributes—availability, lethality, survivability, and exportability—complement existing weapon systems used by the Ukrainians and will increase the lethality of the Ukrainian military,” the legislators wrote.

Training Ukrainians on the MQ-1C, which are made by General Atomics, would take 27 days, the senators wrote.

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