2 August 2016

U.S. Gives RAVEN Surveillance Drones to the Ukraine

Daniel Wasserbly
July 29, 2016

US delivers Raven UAVs to Ukraine

The United States delivered 24 AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft systems to Ukraine on 27 July, the US Embassy in Kiev said.

The package included 72 hand-launched Raven intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and associated equipment, which was transported to Boryspil International Airport.

“Several dozen Ukrainian soldiers have already completed training on Raven unmanned aircraft system in Huntsville, Alabama,” the embassy said. “[The] Raven system is part of the European Reassurance Initiative [ERI] package and on-going security assistance efforts in Ukraine.”

The White House in fiscal year 2016 (FY16) received USD789 million for the ERI and in FY17 requested USD3.4 billion, a four-fold increase to fund such projects as well as add another US Army armour brigade presence in the region.

After removing force structure and armour units from a peaceful Europe, President Barack Obama over the last few years has sought to sooth fears in Eastern Europe that tensions with Russia could escalate to conflict, as happened in Ukraine.

There have been frequent calls from Kiev as well as some in the US Congress to send more potent offensive weaponry to Ukraine, but the Obama administration has mainly favoured communication and ISR assets (for example, AN/TPQ-49 Lightweight Counter-Mortar Radars began arriving in 2014).

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