The White House's recent decision to allow the sale of advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates highlights the deliberate shift in US policy towards the UAE after it signed "normalisation" accords with Israel. Why would the UAE want American drones as it already has dozens of Chinese armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its inventory? And why has the United States now agreed to these sales, overcoming its traditional reticence to sell sophisticated weapons to other countries? Chinese armed drones have made a significant effect on the battlefields across the Middle East and North Africa. They have been used to assassinate Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen, kill ISIL-affiliated fighters in the Sinai, and for a time help Khalifa Haftar dominate the battlespace in Libya.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Senior Air Force commanders are employing new tactics, technologies and protocols to better safeguard drones from being shot down by enemy fire during missions. Air Force Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of U.S. Forces Europe, recently told reporters that senior U.S. military leaders are now in an effort to increase mission survivability for combat drones operating in high-risk areas. Responding to a question about an MQ-9 Reaper being shot down over Yemen last year, Harrigian emphasized that drone operations need to become less predictable to enemies. "There is something to be said for operating in a manner that offers us an opportunity to not be as predictable as we have been.
We spoke to The Daily Beast to help make sense of ISIL's growing use of armed consumer drones in the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, we assisted The Verge in confirming that the jail sentence given to a Seattle man for crashing his drone during a parade was in fact unprecedented in the history of U.S. domestic drone use. A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed two individuals near the border of Afghanistan. If confirmed, it would be the first U.S. drone strike in Pakistan under the Trump administration. The U.S. launched over 20 airstrikes in Yemen, targeting al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.
Predator drones will no longer haunt the sky above parts of the Middle East and Africa, though another type of drone will take their place. MQ-1 predators and other military drones have launched hellfire missiles in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other nations. The predator's been around for more than two decades. SEE ALSO: Video of'chubby' tigers taking down a drone may be way darker than you think The reaper drones that will take its place are faster, have better sensors and can carry more explosive power, according to the Defense Department. Reapers have been used in tandem with predators for a decade, but next year predators will give way to their more advanced counterparts entirely, allowing the military to eliminate training costs for the lesser of the two types of drones.