The Trump administration is finally ready to loosen up on the missile technology control regime. For the longest time, the US government has kept a stronghold over which countries get access to its arms and ammunition. In easier words, according to the previous terms and conditions, the fewer countries were allowed to buy rights to the unmanned air weapons that the US defense contractors had to offer. In a recent revision of these terms and rules, some thirty-four countries have joined hands with the US government and will now be able to buy unmanned aircraft like fighter drones from the US. Although it is currently unclear as to how exactly is the administration is going to loosen up, it is. It strongly depends on the administration’s interpretation of the phrase “strong presumption of denial.”
As of now, several countries are not allowed to buy “category-1” unmanned aerial vehicles. The US government officially denies them the right to do so and thus rejects their requests. The category-1 vehicles are simply those that can carry a load of up to 500 kilograms of payload for a distance of 300 kilometers.
Although most of the institutions involved in this reinterpretation of the rules have already been notified, there will be a collective meet regarding the same. The departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security, have already signed on to this in May. The industry stakeholders like General atomics and Northrop Grumann have been informed as well. According to Reuters, a meeting regarding this will be held on June 16, and the white house’s national security council will sit to review this change.
Many industry executives and a US official did confirm to the Reuters that this change could be brought into action as soon as from this summer onwards. The Trump government has been paying a lot of attention to losing the missile technology control regimen for the longest while now. Event hen, the defense companies, have complained about losing sales to the companies from China and Israel. As of yet, the defense companies have not been able to see the desired result from the changes brought in the drone export policies.
Back in April 2018, the Trump government made some major changes o the drones export policies. These changes allowed the defense companies to directly sell their types of equipment to customer militaries from other countries. It eradicated the US military’s major role, acting as a middle man in these sales to a huge extent. They also attempted to change the category of Drones that fly under a speed of 800 kilometers per hour to category 2, which would allow their sale to increase. Although this proposal was not acceptable to all the members of the regime and thus got rejected.
At an event on June 3, Heather Penney, a senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies, agreed that although the dropping down to a limit of drone speed up to 600 kilometers is undoubted, a step forward, it still “doesn’t move the ball forward.”