U.S. drone-makers expect to see an uptick in sales of military and civilian drones following a change in the export rules announced by the State Department in mid February.

U.S. arms and aerospace companies had asked the government to ease restrictions on foreign sales of unmanned aerial vehicles.

General Atomics won a $200 million contract in 2013 from the United Arab Emirates to supply an unspecified number of predator drones, the first such sale in the region. Frank Pace, the company’s president of aircraft systems, says deliveries can now begin around April 2016.

“With this new policy, we see a lot more activity, we are talking to a lot more countries in the Middle East,” he was quoted as saying at the International Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Other U.S. manufacturers, like Lockheed Martin, also are focusing attention to Gulf States partners aiming to develop domestic capabilities.

“This region is a growing market, we are actively working on contracts,” says James Hedges, Lockheed’s country director for Jordan, Iraq, UAE & Pakistan.

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