Federal Bans On Chinese Drones

Chinese drones are considered a National Security Threat by the US Department of Defense and many U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. In 2020, the US Federal Government banned the purchase of Chinese drones within all US Government sectors. Several states have followed suit, and most are expected to enact legislation following the federal guidelines.

Until recently, a Chinese drone company, Da-Jiang Innovations (“DJI”), was the leading drone maker flying over American skies. Using subsidies from the Communist Chinese Government, spurned by political motives, DJI has been able to price US manufacturers right out of the market.  The US lost a war for the manufacturing of quadcopter robotics, in this case, and for everything that is quadcopter drone related. DJI, in a short 5 year period leading to the bans, captured over 70% of the U.S. domestic drone market.  And now, for Uncle Sam to take that market back for all the drones in our non-military fleets, we will have to build domestic manufacturing capacity to meet our public safety infrastructure needs.

Chinese drones flying in American skies were officially recognized as a National Security Threat by the US Department of the Navy in a 2019 memorandum titled: “Operation Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products.”  This memo cited several important risks to drone security.  And in particular, it urged for a “…thorough study of the cyber vulnerabilities of these systems,” referring to DJI and other drones made in China.  (Read here.)

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