US doubles down on Chinese drone security claims

DJI made their move at AirWorks 2020.

Now it was the turn of the American federal government to respond; and on on the eve of the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they did.

Through its Department of Defence, the US government refused to budge on its stance that Chinese-made drones being deployed in government operations presented a security threat.

At a Virtual event hosted called The Enemy Within: The Security Risks of U.S. Law Enforcement’s Use of Chinese Drones, and Hosted by The Heritage Foundation, the DoD’s Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen Lord said unmanned aerial systems with a Chinese origins were too perverse in the US market, and making it hard for other drone companies to prosper.

Lord specifically mentioned drone maker DJ by name, and indicated that their 77 percent hold on the world drone market – which she claimed was achieved by flooding the market with “high volume manufacturing and aggressive discount schemes” – was not an acceptable state of affairs for her country.

“We know that the volume of Chinese small UAS exports will continue to increase,” Lord declared.

“Unless there is a shift of Chinese dominance in the market share. Furthermore, we are extremely concerned about data exfiltration by these Chinese UAS.”

Lord did not mentioned the specific security threats posed by Chinese drones in her keynote address.

Other panelists at the event were John Venable, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for National Defence at the Heritage Foundation, Art Mogil, a retired Lieutenant with the New York Police Department; and Brendan Groves, Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs at Skydio Inc, which, alongside Parrot, Altavian, Teal Drones and Vantage Robotics recently replaced DJI as the trusted drones recommended for use in government operations.

Neither DJI nor any Chinese drone manufacturer was represented at the event.


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