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Chinese manufacturers supplying drones for military use to Russia amid China's ban

According to a video shared on Telegram on July 6, 2023, despite China's ban on drone exports over concerns about their potential military applications, Chinese drone manufacturers have found methods to supply drones to Russia. These Chinese manufacturers are navigating these restrictions by providing Russia with drone components under the guise of spare parts.
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Screenshots of the video proving the assembly of a Chinese drone for military use by Russians (Picture source Telegram)

A video shared by UAV specialist Sergey Flash showcases a Chinese-made heavy quadcopter drone designed for carrying out strikes, with the capacity to transport two 120-mm mines, each weighing approximately 16 kilograms. The video was initially posted on the UAV Developer Telegram channel, revealing that the drone's customer is Ural Drone Hub, a well-known Russian entity involved in drone development and supply to the Russian military.

The strategy employed to bypass the export restrictions seems to involve selling drones in the form of spare parts, which enables manufacturers to avoid the strict regulations set by Chinese authorities. The regulations were set to come into effect on September 1 and cover various components, including engines, lasers, and communication systems. The controls would also encompass equipment for producing drones with a take-off weight exceeding 7 kg, lasers that can operate at temperatures above 55°C, and long-range video transmission modules.

Notably, the drone featured in the video does not contain restricted components such as motors, lasers, or optical systems. Instead, it presents a pre-assembled frame equipped with an ammunition release system. This allows the drone to be marketed as a collection of spare parts, thus avoiding the export ban's restrictions. The final assembly and installation of necessary equipment can be carried out within Russia by local experts, sidestepping the ban's provisions.

In late July, Beijing enacted export restrictions targeting drones that fulfill a specific set of criteria. These requirements encompass a range of capabilities, including the ability to operate beyond the visual range of the operator, achieve flight durations exceeding 30 minutes, maintain a maximum takeoff weight of 7 kilograms, facilitate the transportation and potential discharge of cargo, incorporate advanced night and thermal imaging cameras, and integrate robust on-board radio equipment that deviates from typical civilian radio products. The implementation of these regulations is slated for September 1.

However, according to this recent video, drones subject to these restrictions could potentially sidestep them by being deconstructed and shipped as self-assembly kits. This novel approach, characterized as a "build it yourself" kit, could potentially enable circumvention of the impending export limitations.


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