The U.S. Army has ordered its troops immediately to stop using drones made by China’s Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology, better known as DJI. The company manufactures the world’s most popular consumer drones in a variety of camera- and non-camera-equipped devices for hobbyists.
According to a report at Defense One, which has seen a memo dated August 2 from the Army’s deputy chief of staff for plans and operations, the DJI drones “are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf [unmanned aerial vehicles] employed by the Army.”
The memo cited “increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products,” but Army officials did not elaborate on that description.
Army personnel have been instructed to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction.”
Defense One cited one soldier who said, “I wonder how DJI camera stabilizers (which have no memory) can send information back to mainland China.”
The memo covers “any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.”
The Army’s most widely used tactical drones are manufactured in the United States by Aerovironment.
DJI drones are available at Amazon.com at prices ranging from around $100 to $3,000. Best Buy also sells a number of DJI drones ranging in price from $500 to $3,000.