China is a major exporter of armed drones

Since 2011, China has become a major exporter of armed drones, says a new study from researchers at the University of and A&M University.

China is a major exporter of armed drones

The team of researchers published a new research paper on Chinese drone exports, excerpts of which have been published by Foreign Affairs.

Unlike the , is not hindered by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) that came into effect in 1987 and limits the export of Category I systems — those that can travel more than 300 km and carry a payload of more than 500 kg.

Foreign Affairs reports that Pakistan is among the 11 customers China delivers drones to and the country is quickly becoming a leading global arms supplier.

Prior to 2011, just three had armed drones — the United States, the and .

The rapid rise in drone deployment has coincided with China's emergence as a major supplier,” the research paper says. “From 2011 to 2019, 11 of those 18 countries we tracked bought armed drones from China.

Countries that China delivered armed drones to include the UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and others.

The study concludes that non-democracies are four times more likely to acquire armed drones compared to democracies since China entered the drone market

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Photo: A Chinese Wing Loong drone | Xinhua

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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