The U.S. and its allies cannot simply integrate Chinese drones into their forces absent serious security risks, as well as the very real possibility of Chinese supply-chain disruption if tensions between the two nations worsen. This is why Congress and the Defense Department began acting in 2020 to ban Chinese drones from federal use. Three years later, small American SUAS producers still have seen few opportunities to close in on DJI’s massive head start in technology and scale.


It seems that the U.S. government recognize the security risk Chinese drones pose when integrated with the military of an allied country, but then again it seems Israel is buying Chinese drones in its fight against Hamas. This makes me wonder if Israel or any other U.S. ally is bound by some sort of agreement that forbids them to use Chinese drones in their military.


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    Looks like they're buying the same kinds of drones Ukraine is buying, i.e. commercial ones and apparently just for surveillance, not 'mods' like Ukraine does. Nov 12, 2023 at 20:26

1 Answer 1

  • NATO has Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) to assure interoperability. There is a general consensus that NATO members tend to buy STANAG-compatible gear for most purposes.
  • NATO members and other US allies have come into possession of ex-Soviet hardware in the past, and used it in their forces. Often after sending the first couple of examples to their allies for analysis. This includes Israel.
  • Modern military equipment like drones comes with a software component, and integrating that into the the military infrastructure is a lot more complicated (and risky) than getting spare parts for a captured Cold-War-era tank or aircraft. Hence the controversy when Turkey decided to buy the S-400. It was not so much the missiles that had Washington worried, it was the Russian techs plugging it into a NATO air defense system.

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