The MQ1 Predator drone
The MQ1 Predator drone

United States allies in the Middle East and Africa are now deploying Chinese drones in conflicts after being denied access to US models

Signs that allies are deploying Chinese military technology is “strategic and commercial blow” to the US reports the Wall Street Journal:

“The U.S. has long refused to sell the most powerful U.S.-made drones to most countries, fearing they might fall into hostile hands, be used to suppress civil unrest or, in the Mideast, erode Israel’s military dominance. The U.K. is the only foreign country that has operated armed Predators and Reapers, the most potent U.S. systems for offensive drone strikes, according to people familiar with U.S. sales.

The Obama administration, while seeking to facilitate exports under close regulation, led efforts to forge a global “drone code” that would curb proliferation and keep the weapons from misuse.

But China is filling the void. State companies are selling aircraft resembling General Atomics’s Predator and Reaper drones at a fraction of the cost to U.S. allies and partners, and to other buyers.”

Egypt, Pakistan and Myanmar have been stocking up the most:

Source: The Wall Street Journal/SIPRI Arms Trade Regulators

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