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Azeri Drone Reported Shot Down Over Karabakh


Nagorno-Karabakh - Wreckage of what Karabakh Armenian forces say was an Azerbaijani drone shot down on September 12, 14Sep2011

Nagorno-Karabakh - Wreckage of what Karabakh Armenian forces say was an Azerbaijani drone shot down on September 12, 14Sep2011

Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian armed forces said on Wednesday that they have shot down an unmanned Azerbaijani military aircraft flying a reconnaissance mission over the disputed territory.


In a written statement, the Karabakh Defense Army said the drone was downed in Karabakh’s eastern Martuni district on Monday as a result of “special measures” taken by its anti-aircraft units.

“Fragments of the destroyed aircraft are at the disposal of the Defense Army’s relevant services,” the statement said. “A commission has been set up to examine details of the incident and an investigation is underway.”

The Karabakh Armenian army also released several pictures of what it described as the drone wreckage.

Nagorno-Karabakh - Wreckage of what Karabakh Armenian forces say was an Azerbaijani drone shot down on September 12, 14Sep2011

Armenia’s Defense Ministry confirmed the information. But there was no immediate official reaction from Azerbaijan.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have previously not claimed to have shot down air targets since a May 1994 truce that halted their bitter war for Karabakh. The reported downing of an Azerbaijan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could therefore add to growing fears of renewed large-scale fighting between them.

The Karabakh statement said that the Azerbaijani air force has been engaged in “visible activity” along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” lately. “In recent days, the enemy’s unmanned aircraft have carried out, with a fairly large frequency, reconnaissance flights along the entire length of the border zone and, in some cases, violated Artsakh’s (Karabakh’s) airspace,” it claimed, adding that Karabakh air-defense forces have taken “adequate steps” in response.

Nagorno-Karabakh - Wreckage of what Karabakh Armenian forces say was an Azerbaijani drone shot down on September 12, 14Sep2011

Azerbaijan is known to have UAVs, most of them reportedly purchased from Israel. A joint venture set up by the Azerbaijani government and the Israel Aerospace Industries company began assembling Israeli-designed drones in Azerbaijan last March.

Armenia officially announced in June that it too is manufacturing UAVs. Colonel Armen Mkrtchian, deputy commander of the Armenian air force, said they are capable of “carrying out objectives deep inside enemy territory.”

The drones apparently designed by Armenian engineers are expected to be put on display during a military parade in Yerevan scheduled for September 21.

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