WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing the Pentagon to expedite a monthslong review aimed at determining whether the United States should send its MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine.
Seventeen House Democrats and Republicans on Thursday sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, pressing him to expedite an ongoing risk assessment to determine whether transferring the technology poses a risk should it fall into Russian hands.
“There continue to be delays in delivering Gray Eagle systems to Ukraine despite urgent requests from Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov and ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova,” the lawmakers wrote. “While important, thorough risk assessments and mitigation should not come at the expense of Ukrainian lives.”
Pentagon officials have been mulling a request for Gray Eagle drones from Ukraine since at least mid-April, but it’s hung up over concerns about securing the technology as well as its survivability in the contested airspace above Ukraine. Officials said they are also considering the potential impact on the U.S. military’s readiness if the drone is provided from its own stockpiles.