Obama lifts bar on exporting the Predator with offer to Gulf statesABU DHABI -- The administration of President Barack Obama has allowed the marketing of an advanced unmanned aerial vehicle to Gulf Arab allies.
The Predator UAV has long been restricted to exports to NATO states.
The MQ-9 Predator B (Reaper) Reuters/David Gray
Executives said Gulf Cooperation Council states, particularly the UAE, have expressed interest in Predator as a strategic multi-role UAV. They said strong interest by Gulf Arab militaries could lead to the establishment of a production line at General Atomics that would modify Predator as a purely persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.
In November 2009, a variant of Predator, manufactured by General Atomics, was introduced at the Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates.
"We are hoping for approval soon," General Atomics business development director Chris Ames said.
General Atomics has developed an export version of Predator for the export market. Executives said that unlike the heritage Predator, the export variant could not be equipped with missiles and rockets.
The U.S. military has used Predator extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Increasingly, Predator has been used in attack operations against Al Qaida and Taliban.
Italy, a participant in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, has been the only export client of Predator. But in 2009, the administration began processing the request by General Atomics for Predator export.
One option was the modification of an existing platform, the maritime version of the MQ-9 Predator B. In December 2009, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection took delivery of Guardian, the first maritime variant of the Predator B, which contains a marine search radar
Let's have a pool about WHEN (not if) these are used OPENLY against american interests and people? Will if be from KSA, Kuwait, or a cash strapped Dubai (UAE) or Bahrain?
Or an overthrown ally