US drones deal in pipeline: sources

BOLSTERING DEFENSES: The deal would need the approval of the US Congress, which might receive formal notification as early as next month, two sources said

Taipei Times
Date:  Aug 08, 2020

A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone sits in a hanger at the Amari Air Base in Estonia on July 1. SeaGuardian drones, which are also manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, are similar to Reaper drones.
Photo: Reuters

The US is negotiating the sale of at least four sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan for the first time, aircraft that can keep watch over huge swathes of sea and land, six US sources familiar with the negotiations said.

The SeaGuardian surveillance drones have a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,100km), far greater than the 300km range of Taiwan’s fleet of drones, potentially giving the nation greater capacity to peer into China, observing its air force, missiles and other facilities.

While the US Department of State tacitly authorized the sale of the uncrewed aerial vehicles, two of the people said, it is not known whether the US officials have approved exporting the drones with weapons attached, one of them said.

The deal must be approved by the US Congress, which might receive formal notification as soon as next month, two of the people said. Lawmakers could block a final agreement.

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