Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

US military ‘using banned Chinese drones’ despite Trump’s trade war with Beijing | World | News

In May 2018 the Pentagon passed an order that prohibits “all commercial off-the-shelf drones,” from use by US armed forces, citing “cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” as the reasoning behind the new ruling. However, it appears some of the military’s most elite squads are still relying on them. A report in the major US government-funded Voice of America has highlighted that despite growing controversy over Chinese tech and communications products used in the US military, drones have remained a crucial part of operations. The Pentagon has previously stated that such equipment requires “special exemptions on a case-by-case basis to support urgent needs”.

The report reveals that: “Purchase orders completed in August and November 2018 show that the Navy spent nearly $190,000 and the Air Force spent nearly $50,000 on drones made by DJI [Chinese drone maker].

“The Air Force bought 35 DJI Mavic Pro Platinum drones, and the Navy bought an undisclosed number of drones from DJI’s Inspire series.

“The 2018 drone purchase orders obtained by VOA via public records appear to be for some of the military’s most sensitive and secretive operators, including the Air Force’s only special tactics wing and Navy Sea Air Land (SEAL) teams.”

DJI (Da Jiang Innovations) was subject to Washington suspicion as it was feared the company was aiding Beijing’s spying efforts on the US government.

Ellen Lord, who works in the Trump administration as the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, admitted to reporters last month: “We know that a lot of the information is sent back to China from those, so it is not something that we can use.”

Despite the admission that Chinese equipment can be used to gather intelligence on US military operations, the drones remain in use.

The controversy comes as Chinese tech giant Huawei looks to expand to Western countries.

Earlier this month, Trump quashed any possibility of Huawei talks with China, describing the multinational technology company as a “big concern of our military, of our intelligence agencies”.

READ MORE:China imposes mysterious Beijing lockdown amid military parade

Gavin Williamson was sacked as from his role as Defence Secretary in May after he reportedly leaked plans to allow Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network, something which he still denies.

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