Weapons Builders Bank on Proliferation of Drones | Common Dreams
US weapons manufacturers who sell drone aircraft to the US government are concerned that their pilot-less surveillance and attack planes sales have plateaued and now, with the help of lobbyists and industry-friendly members of Congress, are hoping that they can remove export restrictions that will allow them to sell theses weapons to foreign governments eager for the remote technology.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, companies like Northrup Gruman and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., are eager to tap a growing foreign appetite for high-tech drones, and claim they are facing competition in the world market by countries such as Israel and China.
"Export restrictions are hurting this industry in America without making us any safer," Wesley G. Bush, Northrop's chief executive, said at a defense conference this year. "The U.S. is struggling to sell unmanned aircraft to our allies while other nations prepare to jump into the marketplace with both feet."
The restrictions are part of an arms export control treaty signed by the United States and thirty-four other countries in 1987 (when drone technology was more science fiction than reality). The agreement placed a limit on the sale of remote-controlled aircraft according to size, range, and weapons capability.
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