The Blue sUAS, or drones produced in the U.S., fail to meet Ukraine's needs due to their high deployment costs. This is in contrast to Chinese-made drones, which are more affordable, easier to operate, and more capable. This sentiment is echoed by police and other first responders within the U.S. who are forced to use Blue sUAS.
Mr. Gray, previously a U.S. Navy intelligence officer and now involved in drone product development, shared this perspective in an opinion piece for the WSJ.
Seth's Cropsey's “Ukraine Needs American Drones” (op-ed, Aug. 7) aims in the right direction but misses the core problem. U.S. companies don't mass produce the cheap, expendable drones Ukrainian troops need. Since these firms sell to governments and business customers, their advanced drones start at around $16,000.
U.S. defense-tech firms have spent months testing their drones in Ukraine, but some now leave their drones in storage because they couldn't perform perfectly in Ukraine's harsh battlefield conditions. U.S. firms don't have a mass-market consumer drone that costs only a few thousand dollars, which is what Ukraine needs to replace DJI's Mavic-3, the ubiquitous Chinese tool on the front line.
The Pentagon or Commerce Department could encourage U.S. firms to enter the cheaper drone market, but they can't buy drones that don't exist at scale.
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