Media reports say China on July 31 announced export controls on some drones and drone-related equipment.

According to Reuters, China’s commerce ministry said the restrictions on equipment, including some drone engines, lasers, communication equipment and anti-drone systems, will take effect on September 1.  The controls reportedly also affect some consumer drones, and no civilian drones can be exported for military purposes, a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

CNN reports that an unidentified ministry spokesperson said in an online statement that all civilian drones not included in the controls are prohibited from being exported for military purposes.

Drones have become an increasingly prominent feature of modern warfare, employed by both Russia and Ukraine in their conflict.  Civilian drones, with the potential to be altered or employed for military use, have also come into the spotlight during the conflict.

Earlier this year, CNN reportedly found evidence of a downed Chinese-made drone, retrofitted and weaponized, that had been used to target Ukrainian forces.

The Associated Press (AP) says China is a leading developer and exporter of drones. 

China exports drones to several markets, including the United States, and has a sizable domestic drone manufacturing industry.