US easing rules on sales of armed drones, other weaponry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is making it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments. In policy changes announced Thursday, the administration said it's removing restrictions that barred American firms from directly...

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is making it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments.

In policy changes announced Thursday, the administration said it's removing restrictions that barred American firms from directly marketing and selling drones abroad, including those that are armed or can guide missile strikes. Previously, foreign countries had to go through the U.S. government to buy armed drones and those with laser-guidance capability had been classified as armed.

Even with Thursday's changes, the government must still approve and license the sales, which are also contingent on human rights and proliferation reviews as well as congressional authorization.

Officials say the intent is to boost the ability of American firms to compete in the increasingly lucrative global arms market.

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