The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles. This is reported by Reuters citing three people familiar with the situation.
The sources added that the sale of these drones could be blocked by Congress. There is also the risk of a last-minute change in Administration policy that could scuttle the plan, which has been under review at the Pentagon for several weeks.
There are no UAVs of such a class as the Gray Eagle in Ukraine yet. The MQ-1C can fly up to 30 hours depending on its mission and can gather huge amounts of data for reconnaissance purposes. They can carry up to eight powerful Hellfire guided missiles.
The Biden administration allegedly intends to notify Congress of a possible sale of drones to Ukraine in the coming days, after which a public announcement is expected.
In response to a Reuters inquiry, a Pentagon spokesperson said there was "nothing to announce" yet.
Money from the recently passed $40 billion Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative has been set aside to fund both the supply of equipment and weapons and the training of personnel, including drone operators.
The MQ-1C's maximum takeoff weight is about three times that of the Bayraktar TB2, with corresponding payload and range advantages.
Training for Gray Eagle operators usually takes months, but in recent weeks a special accelerated training plan has been offered for experienced Ukrainian drone maintainers and operators, sources told Reuters.