With drone warfare a hot business in recent years, the US has kept a careful handle on who they allow to buy US-made lethal drones. Reports suggest that’s about to change, with President Trump set to ease the rules substantially, opening up sales to dozens of new customers.
This isn’t just a scramble for growing arms sales abroad, which is a top administration priority. It also reflects manufacturers’ concern about overseas competitors, with fear that if the US makers don’t get the business, someone else will.
China and Israel are major competition for the US in drone sales, and both are often willing to do business with nations that wouldn’t be America’s first choice. The US export market has previously focused primarily on surveillance drones, not armed ones.
But it’s clear there are a lot of customers for these weapons of war, and US officials are worried about getting “outplayed” on the international arms market by competitors. While it’s not clear exactly when the move will be made, it will mean more deadly drones on the market, and ultimately, in the skies.
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