Company fined $16,700 for unauthorized drone flight causing loss of national defense resources
Published: Dec 14, 2023 01:34 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A surveying and mapping company whose unauthorized drone flight resulted in the alert of radar system and loss of national defense resources was ordered to pay more than 120,000 yuan ($16,700) in compensation by a local court, media reported on Wednesday.

The company was commissioned to obtain ground photos through drone aerial photography in October 2022, for the purpose of conducting geological hazard investigation in mountainous areas and assessing the situation of abandoned mining areas, according to the Legal Daily. 

The company then assigned the defendant surnamed Lin to complete the aforementioned tasks. However, the company did not seek approval from the airspace management department for the flight, and Lin did not possess a pilot's license for an unmanned aerial vehicle. 

In November 2022, Lin operated the drone for aerial photography and was detected and identified as an abnormal airspace situation by the air force radar. The relevant military departments used multiple taskforces and equipment to participate in the investigation, resulting in a significant loss of national defense resources amounting to over 120,000 yuan. 

Recently, the Intermediate People's Court of Langfang, a city next to Beijing in North China's Hebei Province, ruled that the company and Lin should compensate for the loss of national defense resources, and also publicly apologize through national media to eliminate the negative impact. Both defendants acknowledged the verdict. 

According to media reports, as a civil public interest lawsuit involving infringement of national defense and military interests, this case is not an isolated incident, while a similar case occurred in December 2019, and the local court ruled in May 2021 that the company involved also needed to compensate and apologize.  

China's State Council and Central Military Commission released a regulation on the outdoor flight management of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in June, which will come into effect in 2024, in an attempt to standardize the flight and related activities of UAVs, as well as to promote the healthy and orderly development of the industry.