“Thanks to the advanced Israeli drones owned by the Azerbaijan military, our casualties on the front have shrunk,” Ilham Aliyev told a Turkish TV channel.
Wreckage of crashed and shot-down drones is already littering the landscape in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and social media, including those used by the defense ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, are littered with photos and videos of drones in action.
Open-source researchers have pinpointed the video that circulated last week, saying the incident appeared to have occurred in Armenia, not Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian officials have insisted no one died in the kamikaze attack.
Awash in revenues from the sale of its sizable oil and gas reserves, Baku has for years been building up its military forces, spending billions to buy mainly Russian weaponry and equipment.
But Russia’s defense industry has lagged in developing unmanned aerial vehicles, with the United States largely pioneering technology and tactics for using them.
So Azerbaijan has turned to Israel, and more recently Turkey, to build up its drone capabilities. Prior to this latest outbreak, researchers estimated Azerbaijan had fewer than 200 models.
Among those, according to the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in the United States, are the Harpy and Harop vehicles, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, and the Orbiter 1K, from Aeronautics Group. Other acquisitions include models known as Hermes, Heron, and SkyStriker.
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