Australia okays use of China drones in non-classifed operations

Published: September 22, 2017
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A Phantom drone by DJI company, equipped with a camera, flies during the 4th Intergalactic Meeting of Phantom's Pilots (MIPP) in an open secure area in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, March 16, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Phantom drone by DJI company, equipped with a camera, flies during the 4th Intergalactic Meeting of Phantom's Pilots (MIPP) in an open secure area in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, March 16, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Australian government has resumed the use of Chinese-built drones in non-classified situations, the country’s defence minister said on Thursday.

Australia’s defense forces had put on hold its deployment of China-made drones while it reviewed cybersecurity, following in the steps of the United States, Defense Minister Marise Payne said on the sidelines of an event in Washington.

The US Army said in August it had ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology because of “cyber vulnerabilities” in the products.

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“Following the decision of the US Army, we reviewed our own use of those particular articles and paused our use of them for a while,” she said.

“Following that review, we were comfortable with resuming their use in an unclassified situation.”

The Australian newspaper reported that the Australia Defence Force had 40 DJI drones which were used in military exercises, though the exact role played by the drones was not specified. DJI is a market leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology.

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