As Washington reportedly waffles on selling Gray Eagle combat drones to Ukraine, military officials in Kiev are asking for fighter jets such as the F-15 and F-16 instead, saying they have a better chance against Russian air defenses.
Ukraine is “not Afghanistan” and the expensive drones would just get shot down, one pilot told Foreign Policy this week.
Retired US officers and pundits like Max Boot have loudly advocated for the delivery of Gray Eagles to Ukraine, calling it a potential “game changer” in the conflict. However, the White House has put plans to send four such drones to Kiev “on hold,” Reuters reported last week, due to fears they could fall into Russian hands.
While the Ukrainian generals would like to get their hands on the drones, the pilots would prefer US fighter-bombers, according to Foreign Policy.
“We are not advocating for the Gray Eagles,” one pilot, who went only by ‘Moonfish’, told the outlet. “It’s very dangerous to use such expensive drones in our case, because of the enemy’s air defense,” he added. “It’s not Afghanistan here.”