WASHINGTON --- The U.S. State Department gave Congress notification it plans to sell 18 sophisticated armed MQ-9B aerial drones to the United Arab Emirates in a deal worth as much as $2.9 billion, people briefed on the notification said.
The move comes on the heels of last week’s notification of a potential sale of F-35 fighter jets to the middle-eastern country.
This would mark the first armed drone export since the Trump administration reinterpreted a Cold War-era arms agreement between 34 nations to allow U.S. defense contractors to sell more drones to allies.
Reuters has reported that UAE has long shown interest in purchasing drones from the United States and would be among the first customers in line after U.S. export policy changed this summer. A $600 million deal to sell four unarmed but weapons-ready MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones to Taiwan was the first to be formally notified to Congress on Tuesday.
This informal notification for the Reaper-style drones is the precursor to the State Department’s formal and public notification. (end of excerpt)
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