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China may curb drone exports

KEY POINTS

  • Decision after state owned firm’s combat UAV crashes in Nigeria
  • Chinese ministry cites ‘national security’ as reason
  • CH3 model UAV was also equipped with camera
  • Photo of the drone crashing went viral on twitter
  • Nigeria had bought the UAVs to capture data on Boko Haram
  • At least nine countries are reported to have bought Chinese drones

China is likely to put restrictions on exports of all kinds of drones after one of its combat drone crashed in Nigeria’s north-easternmost state Borno. The Chinese trade ministry gave “national security” as the reason for the impending curbs. The drone was a CH3 model made by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It was equipped with a camera and Chinese AR1 missiles. Nigeria had bought five of these UAVs for its fight against the extremist group Boko Haram. The CH3 models can be equipped with a variety of opto electronic
surveying equipment and jamming designator. They can be used for battlefield exploration, artillery fire correction and intelligence gathering. Reports in the Chinese media indicate that there are at least nine countries which have already bought UAVs from China.