The deal for two Reaper drones would actually cost $18 million for the first year alone
© Getty Images / Fabrizio Villa
US weapons manufacturer General Atomics has offered Ukraine two Reaper MQ-9 drones for just $1 – but the controversial deal, if approved, would come with significant carrying costs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The proposal would require Ukraine to spend $10 million just to prepare and ship the drones from the US, while maintenance costs would run to about $8 million annually, according to the outlet. In addition to two older MQ-9A Block 1 drones, the package would include a mobile ground control station to operate the UAVs “almost anywhere,” according to a letter seen by the WSJ.
General Atomics CEO Linden Blue pitched the idea to the Ukrainian military attache last month. While Kiev and Washington both declined to comment, company spokesman C. Mark Brinkley told the Journal that discussions between the Ukrainian government and his company had been underway for “many months.”