Australian Border Patrol Stops Using Chinese Drones


Australian Border Enforcement (ABF) has decided to stop using Chinese-made drones out of caution.

In April, the federal government ordered a safety review after it was found that the Australian Defense Department was using hundreds of drones made by the Chinese company DJI.

ABF Commissioner Michael Outram told a Senate hearing that its operational sensitivity was “much less” than that of the Pentagon and felt there were adequate regulations in place to oversee the use of drones. the paper said. report.

“These devices were not authorized to connect to our network in any way. They were used in very low-risk environments, such as those associated with tobacco crops,” he said. said in the estimate of

“I felt there was good control. Our operating environment is not the same as defense.”

So after Outram learned of the Department of Defense’s decision to suspend DJI drones, the Border Agency continued testing Chinese drones for several days.

epoch photo
The logo of Chinese company DJI is seen at a store in Beijing on December 16, 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP via Getty Images)

However, the secretary ultimately decided to suspend the agency’s use of these drones pending further research.

“Once the defense had made that decision, we felt it prudent to exercise due diligence and suspend the trial until the details were known,” he said.

The Australian Defense Force has been conducting a six-month safety audit on DJI drones.

In 2018, the Trump administration blacklisted DJI to prevent it from buying US technology. And in 2021, the Biden administration added DJI to the list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies” banned from US investment.

Moreover, six months ago the Pentagon banned the use of drones in the United States over concerns that Chinese companies have ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military and may have cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Senator James Patterson, the opposition interior affairs spokesperson, previously said the US took action against the company because it was “under control of the People’s Liberation Army” and the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. He said it was because he was being sanctioned for his involvement. region.

Mr. Patterson called on the ABF to follow the Ministry of Defense’s instructions and stop flying drones until the review is complete.

“If it’s not safe for our military to use, it shouldn’t be as good as a highly sensitive border security operation,” he said.

“The Albanon government should urgently investigate lower-risk alternatives to DJI for all federal agencies.”

US government blacklists Chinese drone maker DJI
A DJI Mavic 2 Pro and a DJi Mavic Mini made by a Chinese drone manufacturer fly close to each other on December 15, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

All companies based in China, including DJI, must comply with the Chinese Communist Party’s National Security Law of 2017, which requires them to turn over data upon request by Chinese intelligence agencies.

ABF has confirmed it has purchased 41 DJI drones since 2017, including 37 from February to June last year, many of which show how remote systems have improved business capabilities. It is used for testing to see if it can be strengthened.

“In 2020, the Australian Border Force (ABF) will recognize the potential for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to enhance and complement ABF’s existing capabilities and to work with other law enforcement and border control agencies that utilize RPAS. We have identified a role,” the Home Office statement said. Said telegraph paper.

“In 2021, ABF established the RPAS Capabilities Project to test, trial and implement RPAS capabilities.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19, the project has been delayed and is currently in the pilot phase.”