The units of the American Military stopped using a specific type of drone since last week due to concerns of the product being prone to cyberattacks. The drone in question is made by the Chinese company DJI and also employed by the IDF.
This news comes from the internal US Army memo that leaked on 2nd August to sUAS News site. The memo orders the troops to stop using the devices, uninstall the applications as well as remove batteries and storage from the devices.
Earlier in the year, The Israeli military promised that every company commander in its Infantry, Border Defense, and Combat Intelligence Corps will be given a Mavic, which is a DJI made drone equipped with a camera.
Not only this, but the four of five of the Combat Intelligence Corps’ battalions have already been given a more powerful drone also made by DJI called Matrice.
In the memo of the US Army, there have been two reviews that showed that DJI devices are prone to hacking. As said in the memo, the decision for the stopping of usage of the said devices was due to the higher awareness of the cyber vulnerability.
When asked about the drones in question, the army stated that it will use the drones for nonclassified missions now that they are aware of the device’s limitations.
Something similar has been said by Cpt. Nadav Peretz, head of the Drones Department in the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps in May, who stated that the drones would be used for routine missions only.
It should also be noted that the two devices in question are just current solutions until the army gets hold of a better-secured drone.
The IDF is also in the process of constructing a drone known as the Tzur, which will be manufactured for IDF’s needs specifically. There is no deadline and therefore no set date for the drone to be finished.
Peretz stated earlier in the year that the DJI Mavics should be delivered to the Army in August and get to the officers three or four months later when they finish a training period.
This drone is also available commercially for $999.99 for the basic model. But Peretz also said that the army would be paying a higher price due to the accompanying equipment that goes with the drones, like tablets and replacement parts.
Peretz did not comment on the exact number of drones the army will be purchasing but spoke of hundreds.
The smaller drones will be used for various purposes, including the army’s five infantry brigades — Givati, Nahal, Paratroopers, Kfir and Golani — and the newly formed Border Defense Corps. Another flaw of the device is the restricted vision capabilities which mean that the device can only be used in daytime missions.
While they are not on the cutting edge technologically, the drones will give relatively low-level commanders access to previously unimaginable amounts of information. But by the end of the year, any company commander will have this extremely important upgrade that is compared to switching from a phone to a smartphone.