US President Donald Trump said on July 24 to ease controls on exports of armed drones and added that its allies will benefit by this move. According to the reports, the White House unveiled that Trump had approved a move to diverge partly from the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime, in which 35 countries agreed to restrict the sales of unmanned weapons delivery systems. The MTCR regulates the speed of the missiles that could deliver large payload like nuclear weapons.
As per reports, its export is severely restricted to a category that can be considered on a case-by-case basis. The drones which fall under this category must have a maximum airspeed of less than 800 kilometers per hour, which will allow sales of the Reaper and Predator drones used by the US military. The White House reportedly said in its statement that the standards of MTCR have been outdated and it gives an unfair advantage to other countries outside MTCR. The move has worried arms control advocates who say the US sale of advanced drones to more countries could fuel the global arms race. This recent move will export some of our most deadly weaponry to human rights violators across the world, Senator Bob Menendez reportedly said.
The Predator-B is the armed version of Guardian drone and twenty-two of which has been approved for sale to India by the Trump-led administration. Predator B can carry four Hell-fire missiles and two 500-pound laser-guided bombs. The cost of a Predator-B drone is no less than a fighter aircraft, hence the Indian Air Force may have to reduce its limit of manned fighters to create squadrons of armed drones within the present Cabinet sanction of 42 squadrons.