The American Drone Alliance, a group consisting of US drone manufacturers and Blue-sUAS providers Skydio and Teal with the Europe-based open software platform Auterion, has published a response to an article in the Financial Times in which a DOI memo is critical Blue-sUAS-Solutions is published.
The DOI memo complained that Blue sUAS solutions did not meet their department’s requirements, claiming they were “less powerful and more expensive” than the commercial drones previously used and still contained Chinese parts, including circuit boards. The American Drone Alliance responded to the article, saying that the article “misrepresents the current domestic drone market” and downplays the national security threat posed by Chinese-made drone technology.
You can find the article in the Financial Times here (behind the paywall). The American Drone Alliance’s unedited statement is posted below.
DECLARATION BY THE AMERICAN DRONE ALLIANCE
“Yesterday’s Financial Times article on Chinese drones misrepresents the current domestic drone market and does not recognize the widely recognized threats to national security posed by Chinese drones.
While national security cannot be priced, the reality is that the U.S.-made drones selected by the Department of Defense are indeed competitive with Chinese alternatives. More importantly, they have passed rigorous cybersecurity reviews and been found safe for government use. They are rugged and ready to use and can be used in the most demanding environments.
It is impossible to talk about the price of Chinese drones without talking about the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government has apparently been supporting Chinese drone manufacturers for years by suppressing price displacement. As former US Defense Secretary Ellen Lord clarified in 2019, “DJI brought so many low-cost quadcopters to market and we became dependent on them for both a defense and a commercial perspective.”
There is no question that China-made drones pose a serious national security risk. The threat posed by the DJI, Autel and other China-based drones stems from their obligation to comply with all requests for information from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Chinese security law. The DJI’s close relationship with the CCP is well known and its role in assisting heinous human rights violations against the Uyghur people earned them a place on the Department of Commerce’s entity list late last year. With this in mind, it would be unreasonable for government agencies to use drones, which provide a way for the Chinese government to infiltrate US networks, steal confidential information, and compromise our national security.
Additionally, China’s latest hack of Microsoft Exchange – officially condemned by the Biden administration today – is the latest in a series of troubling developments that show the Chinese government will stop at nothing to spy on American companies and government agencies at all levels. “
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional marketplace for drone services, and a passionate observer of the emerging drone industry and regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for emerging technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam
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