Politico learned about the problems of the United States in the supply of Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine
The military of Ukraine will have to undergo a long training in the use of Gray Eagle drones. Washington has not yet made a final decision on supplies, it may be blocked by Congress
The process of transferring four American MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine faced problems in logistics and training of the Ukrainian military, Kyiv is unlikely to be able to use drones in combat in the coming weeks or months, writes Politico, citing Pentagon sources and experts.
Interlocutors of the newspaper in the military department indicated that training in the use of the Gray Eagle usually takes months, depending on the configuration, these models are much more difficult to operate drones with a shorter range. At the same time, the manufacturing company General Atomics admitted that the training process for the Ukrainian military could be reduced due to “urgent needs”; Kyiv. Developer spokesman Mark Brinkley told Politico it could take four to five weeks.
In addition, the decision of the American administration to transfer drones to Kyiv is not final, congress may block the supply, this issue continues to be discussed in the Pentagon and the White House.
The deal was a sale to another state of equipment that is on the balance sheet of the American not by transferring from the presidential reserve fund, which could slow down the process, the newspaper writes. Politico explains that overseas sales require formal requests, State Department approval, and congressional notice, which could prevent the deal from happening within 30 days.
The use of the Gray Eagle requires extensive ground infrastructure, including encrypted communication channels, runways and special equipment, Vertical Flight Society expert Dan Gattinger explained in an interview with the publication. He pointed out that it is still unclear where the Ukrainian forces will be able to base drones and operators, while adding that operators will be able to control them from outside Ukraine with access to satellite communications.
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Politico indicates that Gray Eagle is able to collect a significant amount data during the flight, in the air it is able to hold out up to 30 hours. The drone can also strike with precision-guided Hellfire missiles. The US military has more than 200 Gray Eagle drones, retired US Air Force General David Deptula told the newspaper.
Previously, official Kyiv has repeatedly asked Washington and the authorities of other European countries to provide more modern weapons, the Ukrainian authorities asked for the supply of Gray Eagle, in particular, at the end of April. The United States has already donated Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones, but Kyiv is interested in Gray Eagle and Reaper due to the fact that these models are able to travel long distances, fly at high altitude and reload.
Kyiv by then has already held talks with General Atomics, but deliveries of strike UAVs are subject to the US Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which restricts their deliveries. Some US partners, including Qatar and Indonesia, were previously unable to receive the Gray Eagle and Reaper, Politico pointed out.
By early June, the Pentagon had been discussing the transfer of Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine for several weeks, sources told Reuters. The Pentagon then told the agency that there was “nothing to announce” yet; on this issue.
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