U.S. Blocks MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drone to Ukraine

U.S. Blocks MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drone to Ukraine
Soldiers from Company E, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade perform pre-flight checks on the MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system before the Mass Fire Mission on Fort Stewart March 1. For the first time ever, Division Artillery teamed with the MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system which was utilized for a wide range of purposes including target identification, observing the rounds as they are fired, and assessing battle damage. (Photo by Sgt. William Begley, 3rd CAB Public Affairs)

The Biden administration plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles for battlefield use against Russia.

According to an exclusive Reuters report, planned U.S. drones to Ukraine have been paused on the fear its sophisticated surveillance equipment might fall into enemy hands, according to two people familiar with the matter.

However, Reuters reported on June 17, 2022, that the plans had met with concerns that the equipment could fall into enemy hands.  

The news agency cited two sources as saying a technical objection over the export of the drones was raised during a review by the Pentagon. The fear is that the radar and surveillance equipment on the drones may create a security risk for the United States if it falls into Russian hands, the article said.   

The Gray Eagle is based on the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial system developed by General Atomics. It can carry AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and GBU-44/B Viper Strike guided bombs.  

The Reuters report further cited one of its sources, described as a US official, as saying that the decision on whether to send the drones to Ukraine has been moved up the chain of command for review.  

Reuters cited the Pentagon as saying that technology security reviews were standard practice. “All cases are reviewed on their own merit,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.  

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