In this Oct. 20, 2015 photo, a Shadow unmanned aircraft operated by the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade over the U.S. Army Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., with the moon in the background. (Peter Haley/The News Tribune via AP)
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The U.S. State Department has approved a longstanding request from Italy to arm its two MQ-9 Reaper drones with Hellfire missiles, laser-guided bombs and other munitions, two U.S. officials said Wednesday.Turkey has also requested to buy armed drones from the United States.U.S. lawmakers have 15 days to block the sale but such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted before Congress is formally notified.The new U.S. export policy maintains "a strong presumption of denial" of sales of the biggest drones like the MQ-9 -- Category I aircraft that have a range of at least 300 km (186 miles) and can carry a payload of at least 500 kg (1,102 pounds).
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