President Joe Biden’s refusal to give Ukraine F-16 fighter jets is ruffling feathers. So much that a U.S. weapons manufacturer is now offering to sell Ukraine multi-million dollar drones for $1.
Linden Blue is the CEO of General Atomics, which makes things like the Predator, Avenger and Reaper drones. In a statement on the company’s website, Blue confirmed this week General Atomics offered to sell Ukraine two MQ-9 Reapers for the symbolic price of a buck. The deal would include the ground control station and other necessary hardware to operate the drones. Kyiv would still have to foot the $10 million bill to transport everything to Ukraine, and another $8 million annually to maintain the systems.
Blue said, “It’s long past time to enable Ukrainian forces with the information dominance required to win this war.” A couple of Reapers could go a long way to make that happen.
Ukraine is already making use of drones on the battlefield, but most are smaller with limited range and flight times.
Reapers, on the other hand, have a wingspan of 66 feet and an 1100-mile range. They can cruise around the skies at 50,000 feet, and can stay in the air for more than 24 hours. Reapers are perfect for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions, but you don’t get a name like Reaper for nothing.
The drones can be armed with a variety of munitions, including Hellfire missiles. Reapers have been dealing death for the U.S. and its allies for more than 20 years, which is why the U.S. Air Force already signed off on a plan to send Reapers to Ukraine last year, but the Pentagon shot that down.
In order for Linden Blue’s current proposal to succeed, President Biden and the Pentagon would have to sign off on it. So far, Biden has declined to comment on the proposal.