White House Paves Way for More US Drone Exports

2018/04/1524222491.jpg
Read: 339     16:23     20 April 2018    

The White House relaxed weapons export protocols on Thursday to allow US defense contractors to more easily sell unmanned aerial vehicles to foreign clients.


The goal of the changes are to ensure that "US industry faces fewer barriers and less confusion when they are attempting to compete against other countries and marketing and selling those similar systems to our partners," said Tina Kaidanow, principal deputy assistant secretary for political-military affairs at the US Department of State as the changes were announced.

Washington is keen on increasing its market share, too. Opening access to American weapons and drones helps "reduce" other countries' "reliance, not just on Chinese knockoffs, but also on Russian systems," White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro told reporters Thursday.

The new policy effectively recategorizes certain drones to make it easier for the government to approve their sale.

Specifically, the US moved to allow drone systems sales under what are called direct commercial sale (DCS) agreements. Unlike a foreign military sale (FMS) agreement, which used to govern most drone sales, in a DCS agreement, the US government mostly sits on the sidelines while contracts are negotiated between the contractor and the non-US purchaser. DCS deals are seen as quicker and potentially cheaper as a result of lower administrative hurdles.

Navarro told reporters Thursday that, "although the US leads the way in UAS technology, overly restricted policies enacted by the previous administration" made exporting drones abroad a hassle. The US government's preferred term for a drone is an "unmanned aerial system," or UAS.

The other protocol that was changed on Thursday was the policy that stated that a UAS with laser designating technology — which can be used to paint lasers onto targets for missiles fired from other platforms — was "strike enabling."

"We'll be reducing the complications to how we classify UAS," Kaidanow explained.

"Because under the previous policy, UAS equipped with so-called ‘strike-enabling technology,' like laser target designators, were classified under a specific, discrete category. And the criteria for transferring that category of UAS was equivalent to the criteria for transferring an armed UAS. So we placed the proposed transfer of UASs equipped with strike-enabling technologies under significant scrutiny in the past and we limited their transfer to occur only through the foreign military sale system," she said. That will no longer be the case.

The laser designator issue is "one of the things that has hampered the sale of these particular systems," Kaidanow said, without specifying what drone systems she had in mind.

As Defense News reports, however, the regulations don't go very far. Selling a "category-1" drone that carries a 500-kilogram payload over a distance greater than 300 kilometers is still very rare. The new policy hasn't changed that.

Under the Obama-era policy, only Britain, France and Italy were approved to buy armed drones like Predators and Reapers, according to Dan Gettinger of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College.

While the changes align with US President Donald Trump's calls to make it easier to sell other countries US military products, the new policy doesn't actually change the law or regulatory environment per se.

"Okay. So let me be very clear. Nothing in the — this new NSPM [national security presidential memorandum] that will be issued changes either the existing legal or the regulatory requirements. And we are very respectful of Congress's role in all of this… Every sale we do is on a case-by-case basis," Kaidanow stressed.

Sputnik 

 



Tags: USA   drones  



News Line

White House Paves Way for More US Drone Exports

2018/04/1524222491.jpg
Read: 340     16:23     20 April 2018    

The White House relaxed weapons export protocols on Thursday to allow US defense contractors to more easily sell unmanned aerial vehicles to foreign clients.


The goal of the changes are to ensure that "US industry faces fewer barriers and less confusion when they are attempting to compete against other countries and marketing and selling those similar systems to our partners," said Tina Kaidanow, principal deputy assistant secretary for political-military affairs at the US Department of State as the changes were announced.

Washington is keen on increasing its market share, too. Opening access to American weapons and drones helps "reduce" other countries' "reliance, not just on Chinese knockoffs, but also on Russian systems," White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro told reporters Thursday.

The new policy effectively recategorizes certain drones to make it easier for the government to approve their sale.

Specifically, the US moved to allow drone systems sales under what are called direct commercial sale (DCS) agreements. Unlike a foreign military sale (FMS) agreement, which used to govern most drone sales, in a DCS agreement, the US government mostly sits on the sidelines while contracts are negotiated between the contractor and the non-US purchaser. DCS deals are seen as quicker and potentially cheaper as a result of lower administrative hurdles.

Navarro told reporters Thursday that, "although the US leads the way in UAS technology, overly restricted policies enacted by the previous administration" made exporting drones abroad a hassle. The US government's preferred term for a drone is an "unmanned aerial system," or UAS.

The other protocol that was changed on Thursday was the policy that stated that a UAS with laser designating technology — which can be used to paint lasers onto targets for missiles fired from other platforms — was "strike enabling."

"We'll be reducing the complications to how we classify UAS," Kaidanow explained.

"Because under the previous policy, UAS equipped with so-called ‘strike-enabling technology,' like laser target designators, were classified under a specific, discrete category. And the criteria for transferring that category of UAS was equivalent to the criteria for transferring an armed UAS. So we placed the proposed transfer of UASs equipped with strike-enabling technologies under significant scrutiny in the past and we limited their transfer to occur only through the foreign military sale system," she said. That will no longer be the case.

The laser designator issue is "one of the things that has hampered the sale of these particular systems," Kaidanow said, without specifying what drone systems she had in mind.

As Defense News reports, however, the regulations don't go very far. Selling a "category-1" drone that carries a 500-kilogram payload over a distance greater than 300 kilometers is still very rare. The new policy hasn't changed that.

Under the Obama-era policy, only Britain, France and Italy were approved to buy armed drones like Predators and Reapers, according to Dan Gettinger of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College.

While the changes align with US President Donald Trump's calls to make it easier to sell other countries US military products, the new policy doesn't actually change the law or regulatory environment per se.

"Okay. So let me be very clear. Nothing in the — this new NSPM [national security presidential memorandum] that will be issued changes either the existing legal or the regulatory requirements. And we are very respectful of Congress's role in all of this… Every sale we do is on a case-by-case basis," Kaidanow stressed.

Sputnik 

 



Tags: USA   drones