In late 2019 the US Interior Department grounded its entire fleet of aerial drones, all of which are either made in China or have Chinese parts, citing increasing concerns about the national security risk from the manufacturers, pending a detailed review.
A US Defence Department Pentagon audit is said to have cleared for government use two drone models by China’s largest manufacturer, Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), according to The Hill.
“No malicious code or intent” was discovered after an analysis of the drones, which have been “recommended for use by government entities and forces working with US services”, the summary of the report, authored by second chief warrant officer with the US Army Special Operations Command Adam Prater, is cited as saying.
The remainder of the audit, dated 6 May, is classified, says the outlet.
Cited cybersecurity concerns forced the Interior Department to ground its entire fleet of around 800 aerial drones – one of the largest in the federal government – at the end of 2019.
Used for purposes such as fighting forest fires, surveying erosion, and inspecting dams, all of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are either made in China or have Chinese parts, according to a source cited by The Wall Street Journal.
Under an order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the drones were grounded until the department completed a review of potential security risks, with exceptions made for emergency situations, including natural disasters.