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Ukrainians are worried that China could cut their access to homemade drones remotely, making them into 'nothing more than a coaster for your coffee'

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Ukrainians are worried that China could cut their access to homemade drones remotely, making them into 'nothing more than a coaster for your coffee'​

Grace Eliza Goodwin
Sep 15, 2023, 3:45 AM GMT+8



Ukrainian military member works with drone parts in a lab on July 10, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Ukrainian military member works with drone parts in a lab on July 10, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Yuriy Mate/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images
  • Ukrainian volunteer groups have been constructing makeshift explosive drones for the country's army.
  • The improvised explosive-dropping devices are cobbled together using Chinese DJI copters.
  • One drone technician said he's worried China could suspend the accounts needed to make the drones fly.

Ukrainian drone pilots are worried that China could remotely lock them out of their homemade devices patched together using Chinese products.

In the last few months, Ukrainian forces have been expanding their usage of makeshift tactical drones carrying explosives, Insider previously reported.

Units like the Adam Tactical Group rely on homemade First-Person-View (FPV) drones that have been cobbled together by grassroots volunteer organizations, according to the Kyiv Independent.

The cheap, improvised drones worth only a few hundred bucks are constructed using 3-D printing techniques, combined with parts manufactured by a Chinese company called DJI, and retrofitted with explosives, the outlet reported.

A drone technician for the Adam Group, Vitalii, told the Kyiv Independent that he is concerned China will decide to suspend the accounts Ukraine needs to make the drones function properly, effectively cutting the war-torn country off from one of its most essential pieces of equipment.

"All this equipment, on which our whole reconnaissance architecture is built, will turn into nothing more than a coaster for your coffee," Vitalii told the Kyiv Independent.

DJI produces civilian drones and requires pilots to sign into an account in order to bypass height and distance limits on their use.

 
This would be a pretty stupid move.

DJI and Chinese drone is not the only one in the market, if they stop supplying or worse, start manipulating account, then they may as well cut off the entire market. It's not like China cut off the account and Ukraine can't find someone else to supply these hobby drone.

Plus, any account manipulation would most likely have blow back to other user, this will hurt sales for DJI not just in Ukraine but around the world, even more so with the Congress pressure on banning DJI/Chinese drone on civilian market, and really not really do much to Ukraine, as those drone they use militarily are jury-rigged, it's not like DJI supply Ukraine military specifically, they would just buy US made or Israeli made or even Turkish made hobby drone and jury-rigged them.
 
@jhungary ;

We do not produce as large-scale as China. Likewise, Israel does not do it either. The drones produced by the USA will be expensive and it is impossible to predict what the US Senate will do. Just yesterday, Republicans tried to cut off aid to Ukraine.

China would hurt itself if it blocked access, yes, but Ukraine would also immediately lose the war.
 
@jhungary ;

We do not produce as large-scale as China. Likewise, Israel does not do it either. The drones produced by the USA will be expensive and it is impossible to predict what the US Senate will do. Just yesterday, Republicans tried to cut off aid to Ukraine.

China would hurt itself if it blocked access, yes, but Ukraine would also immediately lose the war.
First of all, if you depend on DJI drones top drop mortar round or IED on Russian tank to win a war, then you probably already lost.

Second of all, you don't need to completely replace the Chinese drone with one supplier, it's really hard to believe the combine output of US, Turkey, UK, and Israeli drone company would not exceed 10000.....which is roughly the amount of drone flew in Ukraine any one time.

And finally, you are talking about Military Aid, and the GOP aren't really try to block it, you are talking about commercial grade FPV drone. Which is what the Ukrainian using these Chinese drones for, I don't think Chinese Ministry of Defence have any send any Military Aid to Ukraine...
 
@jhungary ;

We do not produce as large-scale as China. Likewise, Israel does not do it either. The drones produced by the USA will be expensive and it is impossible to predict what the US Senate will do. Just yesterday, Republicans tried to cut off aid to Ukraine.

China would hurt itself if it blocked access, yes, but Ukraine would also immediately lose the war.

How will China hurt itself?
 
This would be a pretty stupid move.

DJI and Chinese drone is not the only one in the market, if they stop supplying or worse, start manipulating account, then they may as well cut off the entire market. It's not like China cut off the account and Ukraine can't find someone else to supply these hobby drone.

Plus, any account manipulation would most likely have blow back to other user, this will hurt sales for DJI not just in Ukraine but around the world, even more so with the Congress pressure on banning DJI/Chinese drone on civilian market, and really not really do much to Ukraine, as those drone they use militarily are jury-rigged, it's not like DJI supply Ukraine military specifically, they would just buy US made or Israeli made or even Turkish made hobby drone and jury-rigged them.

Russians already have DJI aeroscope, which is a DJI transponder receiver
 
In fact, China mainly controls exports of agricultural drones. Based on load capacity and endurance.
 
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