Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army claimed to have shot down an Azerbaijani military drone on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Defense Army said the Israeli-made drone was hit by one of its air-defense units early in the afternoon immediately after entering its airspace over a southern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh. It promised to release photographs of the wreckage the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “later on.”
The statement also said that Azerbaijani warplanes, combat helicopters and UAVs have carried out more frequent flights near the heavily fortified frontline of late. It claimed that Azerbaijani drones have also repeatedly attempted to cross into Armenian-controlled territory “for intelligence-gathering purposes” and urged Baku to avoid such “provocative steps.”
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry did not immediately react to the claim.
An Israeli company, Aeronautics Defense Systems, manufactures several types of Orbiter UAVs, including light-weight systems designed for reconnaissance missions and heavier attack drones.
The Karabakh army did not specify which one of them it shot down. It had claimed to have destroyed an Orbiter 2 reconnaisance drone in September 2019.
According to Israeli media reports, Aeronautics was working on a potential $20 million deal with Baku when Azerbaijani officials asked its specialists to demonstrate one of its “kamikaze” drones on a Karabakh Armenian army position in the summer of 2017. The reports said two Aeronautics employees refused to carry out the attack but higher-ranking executives of the company agreed to do so.
The scandal led Israeli authorities to suspend Aeronautics’ export license. But they lifted the ban on attack drone exports to Azerbaijan in January 2019. Aeronautics reportedly opened an office in Baku a few months later.