China blocks Russian home-made drone project to boost its war capabilities | World | News

Russia has suffered a major blow with China’s new export rules, which threaten to significantly reduce its ability to build its own drones for the war in Ukraine.

The brutal 19-month conflict has accelerated in recent weeks following Kiev’s much-anticipated counter-offensive, with drone attacks becoming increasingly widespread against vital infrastructure.

China is a leader in drone production and still maintains diplomatic relations with Russia, as demonstrated by Xi Jinping’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this year.

But Putin’s war effort could be seriously hampered by Chinese regulations on exports of key unmanned vehicle components, making it increasingly difficult for Moscow to manufacture its own drones.

Chinese regulations “seriously complicated drone deliveries to Russia and led to a shortage of a number of components, such as thermal cameras,” according to the Kremlin-linked Kommersant newspaper, according to a Newsweek report.

Xi’s government has announced plans to introduce export controls on certain drones and related parts, with the measures affecting motors and lasers used in drones, as well as counter-drone systems.

At the time, it was also reported that the new rules would also affect consumer drones intended for military use and those with flight times longer than 30 minutes.

However, China’s restrictions pose a huge problem for Putin and his generals, wondering how they will fill the void if production is extremely limited.

UK-based drone expert Steve Wright told Newsweek: “This is a very interesting example of how China has a tight grip on the technology that makes drones possible.”

He said drones require “a lot of electronics and the Russians have tried, unsuccessfully, to develop an internal capability.”

The expert adds: “In short, the Chinese have control over a large part of the market”, both for Russia and for Western countries.

Samuel Bendett, of the US-based Center for Naval Analyses, told Newsweek: “The real impact of this ban on the Russian market mainly comes down to the increased prices of existing and available Chinese drones and their components already in production.” Russia.

He suggested that a long-term solution could be for the Russian drone industry to step in and replace Chinese imports.

The expert said Chinese regulations do not currently affect “small DJI-style drones” but could impact larger, heavier agricultural drones that Russia has used in Ukraine.

He added: “The lack of certain components can have a significant effect, but there are many alternative supply routes and legal and gray systems used by the Russians to procure what they need. »

Despite the ban, Russia’s largest drone manufacturers have been able to build up “significant” reserves of drone components, according to Kommersant.

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