u-blox prohibits the use of GNSS modules in military drones

Longstanding company policy expressly forbids use of u-blox products in weapons or weapon systems of any kind

u-blox strongly condemns the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

u-blox has been made aware of the use of certain GNSS modules in certain Russian reconnaissance drones and Iranian drones used by the Russian military in Ukraine.

Since 2002, u-blox has applied a company policy that its products must not be used in weapons – including systems for target identification. The company’s global sales teams are regularly trained on u-blox's policy and distributors are contractually obliged to adhere to these restrictions. All u-blox products are designed for commercial use only. 

Immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, u-blox stopped all sales to Russia, Belarus and the territories occupied by the Russian army in Ukraine at the beginning of last year, irrespective of the intended use.

u-blox's policy regarding the use of its products is public and available on its website at https://www.u-blox.com/en/code-of-conduct

Certain media reported that western components were found to be integrated in drones manufactured after the beginning of the Ukraine war and that the Russian government has built up stock of components in anticipation of the war.

This may be a reason why component manufactured by foreign companies were found in Russian drones produced after the beginning of the Ukraine war.

Recently, western components were found in Iranian drones used on the Ukrainian battlefield by the Russian army. u-blox has been provided with pictures of u-blox GNSS chips in an Iranian drone. According to the pictures, the circuit board onto which the u-blox chip was integrated was de-mounted from an end product (e.g. an electronic bike, a pet tracker, an asset tracker, etc.) and re-mounted into the Iranian drone. u-blox does not know how the Iranian military accessed the end product into which the GNSS chip was integrated.

If Iran or Russia can access civilian end products which use components prohibited for export, it, unfortunately, cannot be excluded that more drones will be found including de-mounted and re-mounted western components.

The use of u-blox products in weapon systems and the sale to embargoed countries is a clear breach of u-blox’s conditions of sale applicable to customers and distributors alike. We investigate any infringement of this policy very thoroughly and will take legal action in case of infringement.

Thalwil, Switzerland – January 6, 2023