US studying how to modify Gray Eagle drone

TEHRAN, Nov. 15 (MNA) – According to US officials, Washington is looking into modifications to the Gray Eagle drone as Ukrainian demand grows.

The Biden administration has announced a slew of new military aid packages for Ukraine, but all were missing a piece of weaponry that Ukraine’s military has long sought: the multi-use Gray Eagle drone, armed with Hellfire missiles, CNN reported.

According to CNN, citing two American officials, the US has been looking into modifications that can be made to the deadly drone. Changes that would make the potential of losing any – with their sensitive onboard technology – less of a danger and possibly increase the likelihood of Ukraine receiving them.

“There are specific and very technical tweaks and neutering that can be done to these that may make it possible in the nearer term,” a congressional official said. “But those things take time and are fairly complex.”

A US official confirmed that the Army is leading the efforts to study what changes are possible to the drone, which is made by General Atomics and referred to in the Army as the MQ-1C.

“When you’re talking drones, this is about as good as you can get,” says Seth Jones, the director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “These are really sophisticated drones.”

Without any changes, however, the Gray Eagle, which can carry four Hellfire missiles and fly at 25,000 feet for almost 30 hours, would likely not be on upcoming lists of military aid allocated to Ukraine.

Discussions over the Gray Eagle are ongoing and it has not been ruled out or officially denied to Ukraine, the US official and a Ukrainian official said. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the Pentagon had declined Ukraine’s request.


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