The US has decided to change the interpretation of some provisions of the missile technology control regime (MTCR) in the direction of easing, which will allow them to export drones, according to a statement issued on Friday by the White house.
“For more than two years of discussions with our MTCR partners, we have not been able to reach a consensus on this overdue reform. Therefore, the President decided to use the right of our country to choose to consider a carefully selected set of UAVs of the I RCRT category, which cannot fly faster than 800 kilometers per hour, as category II,” the report said.
It notes that the regime has existed for several decades and is already outdated. The decision, according to the US administration, will strengthen national security by increasing the capabilities of partners, as well as open UAV markets for American manufacturers.
“This is also a clear example for other MTCR partners to adopt the same standards,” the report said.
As assistant Secretary of state for military and political Affairs Clark Cooper told reporters on Friday, the corresponding document has already been signed by US President Donald Trump and entered into force this week.
He confirmed that now the popular Reaper combat drones, which are produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., also fall under the permit.
“This policy does not change anything in how we approach faster UAVs that contain higher risks in terms of delivering weapons of mass destruction. These are weapons such as cruise missiles, hypersonic weapons, and advanced combat drones. These types of weapons will remain prohibited for export, except in possibly rare exceptional cases,” US Assistant Secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation Christopher Ford said during a briefing.
According to him, the new approach only means that the US will now “more flexibly” approach slow UAVs, considering them category II systems. Ford assured that the US would continue to consider every transaction for the supply of such weapons carefully, and the weakening of the approach does not mean that an automatic export permit is issued.
The diplomat also assured that this step is not an attempt by the US to attract interest in its products, but only a response to existing requests.