Defense insiders and senior U.S. officials say the Trump administration is preparing to loosen regulations on drone exports as a means of dealing with fierce international competition.
U.S. companies that specialize in making unmanned aerial aircraft may soon have an easier time doing business within a billion-dollar industry occupied by competitors in China and Israel. Trump administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity say — for better or worse — that America must leverage global relationships through the sale of unarmed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones.
“[Cutting red tape] will allow us to get in the game in a way that we’ve never been before,” one U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity.
Industry sources said that a draft of rules, successfully implemented, would expedite drone sales to allies like Australia, Britain, and Canada.
Some of the U.S. companies that would benefit from the policy shift include General Atomics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Textron, and Lockheed Martin.
“Even before the coming changes, the Teal Group, a market research firm, has forecast sales will rise from $2.8 billion in 2016 to $9.4 billion in 2025,” Reuters reported.