TEL AVIV, Israel (A.W.)—The Israeli Defense Ministry is investigating whether the Israeli company Aeronautics Defense Systems was asked to demonstrate the use of an unmanned armed aircraft in Azerbaijan against an Armenian military position.
According to a report by Israel-based Maariv newspaper, Israel’s Defense Ministry recently received a complaint claiming that a team from Aeronautics Defense Systems traveled to Azerbaijan with the intention to finalize a contract for the sale of company’s Orbiter 1K drone, and they were asked to deploy the armed aircraft against a military position of the Armenian Armed Forces.
“As a rule, the Defense Ministry does not make it a practice to comment on issues involving military exports. The claim is being examined by the relevant parties at the ministry,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement, as reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Aeronautics Defense Systems has denied the allegation, claiming that the deployment was carried out by the purchaser of the aircraft and that the company never demonstrates the operation of the drone on live targets.
Below is a video of a simulation of the Orbiter 1K (Video: Practical Information).
“Aeronautics markets its products to customers in about 50 different countries, [and] only in accordance with approval from the Defense Export Controls Agency. The operational action was carried out by the purchaser alone and on its responsibility. Aeronautics has never carried out demonstrations on live targets, and that was true in this case as well,” the company said in a statement.
According to the Maariv report, the two Israeli operators of the aircraft refused to strike the Armenian position. The report goes on to say they were then threatened after remaining firm in their refusal. Eventually, a senior representatives of the company armed and deployed the drone.
The unmanned aircrafts are said to have missed their targets and no damage was caused. According to the complaint, one of the drones struck at a distance of about 330 feet from the Armenian military position.