The United Arab Emirates’ procurement of the unarmed Predator XP is helping General Atomics Aeronautical Systems stand up a new business model for exporting unmanned air vehicles to nations outside of NATO.

Until 2011, General Atomics was restricted from offering Predator-class aircraft to those outside of the alliance, and the company has spent many years navigating the stringent US regulatory environment that has stymied sales in the past.

Through this direct commercial sale, blessed by the US state department, General Atomics has created a template for future business pursuits. It also has a launch customer for its newest product, the Predator XP, and can start ironing out training procedures and operational protocols. […]