The Obama administration has denied a request from a leading U.S. defense contractor for a license to market its unarmed Predator drones to Jordan, whose requests for U.S.-made weapons are viewed as more urgent due to its participation in the fight against the Islamic State.
The contractor, General Atomics, submitted export license applications last spring to market the Predator XP, a new export version of the unarmed MQ-1 drone flown by the U.S. military, to Jordan and numerous other countries. The U.S. government formally denied the request for Jordan on Oct. 28, according to the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican whose district includes San Diego, where General Atomics is based.
The company’s drone technology is closely guarded by the U.S. on national security grounds. The United Kingdom, France and Italy have the MQ-9 Reaper variant, developed for the U.S. Air Force. General Atomics designed the Predator XP specifically for the export market but as of yet, none have been exported. The company expects the United Arab Emirates to be its first customer. […]