China will be restricting exports of military drones from mid-August for reasons of national security, according to state-run media Xinhua news agency and thepaper.cn.
From 15 August 2015, proper certification will be required for drones that can fly in gusty winds for at least one hour, or can hover at heights of 15,420 metres before they can exported. To obtain approval, local drone makers will need to disclose the drone's technical specification, name of the end user, and intended purpose to the authorities.
The ban comes after Pakistan recently claimed to have shot down a spy drone that is owned by the Indian military and allegedly made by a Chinese company. According to news reports, locally produced military drones including the CH-3 and CH-4, as well as the Wing Loong drone made by Chengdu Airplane Design Research Institute, have been exported to countries including Pakistan and Myanmar.
China has been quick to join the rest of the world in military drone development, and it has successfully tested Lijian, a stealth drone that is powered by a single jet engine, in November 2013. Since drones could help strengthen a country's intelligence-gathering capability, China's ban on drone exports is likely aimed at protecting key technologies and ensuring that they do not fall into the wrong hands, reported Xinhua.
According to the South China Morning Post, this is the second time that China has imposed export restrictions on high-end drones. In July this year, the Chinese authorities required drones made in China with a flying range equal to or above 300 kilometres, or with a load-carrying capacity above 20 litres, to obtain a permit from the authorities before they can be exported.
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