American company is ready to sell military drones to Ukraine for just $1
The American manufacturer of advanced attack and reconnaissance drones announced that it was ready to sell two of them to Ukraine for just $1, and called on the White House to approve the deal. Writes about it Voice of America.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems manufactures the Gray Eagle and Reaper drones. They are used for reconnaissance and combat missions in zones of military conflicts.
The company has been urging Washington for months to provide Ukraine with its powerful Gray Eagle and Reaper drones, which US forces have used very effectively for surveillance and targeted attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other military zones.
Drones can fly long distances at medium altitudes, and also have important technological advantages that Ukraine needs in the fight against Russian aggression.
The Pentagon has provided Ukraine with several small attack and reconnaissance drones, but so far Kyiv has not received anything like General Atomics drones, equipped with advanced technology and with a significant range.
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“From the very beginning of the Russian invasion, we began to look for options to respond to requests from the Ukrainian Armed Forces regarding our products, including the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle,” said General Atomics chief executive Linden Blue.
According to him, the company offered to train the Ukrainian military to work with drones for free. In addition, General Atomics is ready to transfer two of its drones, along with a ground control station and other equipment, for a symbolic sum of $1 (the cost of a basic set of drones without ground stations is about $120 million).
At the same time, Ukraine will need to bear the costs of transporting drones and using them in a combat situation. This is $10 million for the preparation and delivery of drones and about $8 million for maintenance and support.
“This is a great offer with no strings attached,” Blue said. All that is required is the approval of the US government. From our point of view, it is high time to give the Ukrainian forces the information superiority necessary to win this war.”
Why are they special
The MQ-9 Reaper (an allusion to the expression Grim Reaper - "grim reaper", that is, death) is based on the MQ-1 Predator, therefore it is sometimes called the Predator B. It is equipped with a turboprop engine that allows it to reach speeds of over 400 km / h. The maximum flight altitude is 13 m. According to Wikipedia, the flight duration of the MQ-000 Reaper UAV reaches 9 hours.
The MQ-9 tactical unit consists of several UAVs, a ground control station, communications equipment, spare parts, tools and accessories, and maintenance personnel.
The UAV crew consists of a pilot and an operator of electronic systems. Depending on the combat mission, the UAV can carry a variety of combinations of weapons and electronic equipment. For example, the AN / AAS-52 multispectral guidance system manufactured by The Raytheon includes television cameras in the visible and infrared ranges, a television system based on photomultiplication (Image intensifier) and a laser rangefinder-target designator designed to guide weapons systems. There is also a synthetic aperture radar for targeting guided bombs and a target movement sensor.
It was this drone that was used to destroy several leaders of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. And it was thanks to the MQ-9 Reaper that the Iranian military leader, Major General and commander of the Al-Quds special unit as part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), intended to conduct special operations outside Iran, Qasem Soleimani, was killed.
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MQ-1C Gray Eagle ("Grey Eagle"), developed by order of the US Army based on the same Predator, has a maximum speed of 250 km per hour and can fly for 36 hours.
It is capable of carrying up to 363 kg of weapons, including four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground cruise missiles and GBU-44/N Viper Strike guided bombs on four underwing pylons, as well as up to 261 kg of target equipment, including Northrop Grumman ZPY-1 STARLite, Raytheon AAS-52 gyro-stabilized ventral turret with optoelectronic and infrared sensors and laser designator.
In addition, the NERO container jamming system is installed on the Gray Eagle UAV, which is similar in its capabilities to the CEASAR (Communications Electronic Attack Surveillance and Reconnaissance) electronic countermeasures system for communications, surveillance and reconnaissance. The NERO system is capable of pinpoint jamming of enemy radars and communications systems, without jamming or blinding the radio electronics of friendly troops.
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