e Trump administration will soon unveil new rules making it easier for American defense contractors to sell military drones overseas. Sources telling Reuters aides to President Trump are crafting a revamped drone policy aimed at streamlining sales to US allies and other friendly nations to compete with rival efforts in China and Israel.
The looser export controls apply mainly to unarmed drones used for intelligence and surveillance. Defense reporter Mike Stone has the story.>> This will allow for the nonlethal versions of these unmanned aerial systems to be exported to a list of preferred nations much more easily than had been under the Obama administration.
Things that we commonly refer to as drones, like the Reaper, or the Predator, or the Global Hawk made by Northrop Grumman.>> The push for more drone exports coming over the objections of human rights groups who say more drones, even if unarmed, will cost lives and fuel instability.
>> Human rights experts will likely complain that this will make it easier for actors who want to do bad things with these drones. They're unarmed, but they are military vehicles. They're capable of intelligence gathering, as well as directing missile strikes over the horizon from the location where the missile is launched.
They're, in essence, targeting devices. Retrofitting or fitting up drones that have the ability to carry weapons, that's something that will still be regulated very heavily.>> The new rule putting drone makers in line for a larger share of the global market, expected to grow to about $14 billion over the next decade.