Reuters reported that President Donald Trump will soon make it easier to export some types of lethal U.S.-made drones to potentially dozens more allies and partners.
Trump is expected to ease rules for such foreign sales under a long-delayed new policy on unmanned military aircraft due to be rolled out as early as this month, the first phase of a broader overhaul of arms export regulations.
U.S. drone manufacturers, facing growing competition overseas especially from Chinese and Israeli rivals who often sell under lighter restrictions, have lobbied hard for the rule changes.
The White House is expected to tout the move as part of Trump’s “Buy American” initiative to create jobs and reduce the U.S. trade deficit.
Two potential beneficiaries of the rule changes, Textron and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc, currently market smaller armed drones internationally, though U.S. regulations have apparently restrained them from securing sales so far.
Industry sources say other manufacturers are considering expanding their product lines.
The overall loosening of drone export rules would also help producers such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin, two industry sources said.