23 September 2017

News Story: Australian Military Revises Small Drone Operating Procedures

DJI Phantom 3 UAV (File Photo)
by Bill Carey

Australia’s Department of Defence has established “revised operating procedures” for small unmanned aircraft, an action that follows a U.S. Army directive to its units in August to stop using drones manufactured by China’s DJI because of “cyber vulnerabilities.”

On August 9, “after Defence became aware of the U.S. Army’s actions, the use of all commercial off-the-shelf UAS[unmanned aerial systems] was suspended until a formal assessment into the cyber risk presented by these systems could be conducted,” said a spokesperson with the Australian department, in a statement provided to AIN. “Flight operations recommenced on 21 August 2017 following the completion of the risk assessment that led to the development of revised operating procedures for commercial off-the-shelf unmanned aerial systems.”

Australia’s military “operates a number commercial off-the-shelf UAS, including the DJI Phantom,” according to the statement, which did not describe the revised operating procedures. The Australian newspaper first reported the revised procedures.

Citing “increased awareness over cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products,” the U.S. Army in an August 2 memorandum ordered units to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow-on direction.” The memorandum, which was leaked to the news service sUAS News, cited as references a classified Army Research Laboratory report on DJI technology and a U.S. Navy memorandum regarding operational risks of using DJI products.

Read the full story at AINonline