The pentagon has officially ordered the U.S. Army to stop using all products made by Chinese manufacturer DJI due to cyber vulnerabilities. According to a U.S. Department of the Army memo, obtained by sUAS News, the Army Research Laboratory reported “user vulnerabilities” associated with DJI drones almost two months ago. However, the news was kept classified until now.
DJI, which recently released their first enterprise drone, is the most popular UAS manufacturer in the world. In addition, DJI drones “are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army,” the memo states. According to CNBC, DJI drones have also been used by the U.S. Air Force.
The China-based company seems to be caught off guard by the army’s decision.
“We surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army’s unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision,” Michael Perry, a public relations manager for DJI, told sUAS News. “We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues. We’ll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by ‘cyber vulnerabilities’.”
A DJI spokesman told BBC, “The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what ‘cyber-vulnerabilities’ it is concerned about, or whether it has also excluded drones made by other manufacturers.”
Whether the army’s decision to ban DJI products was warranted or not, the news will undoubtedly have an effect on the drone manufacturer.