YEREVAN (Armenpress, RFE/RL) — The Armenian Foreign Ministry is planning to raise the issue of Israel’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or military drone supply to Azerbaijan in different bilateral and multilateral platforms, foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan said at a news conference on February 5.
The Israeli Defense Ministry reinstated the export license of Aeronautics Ltd. – a defense company suspected of testing one of its suicide drones against the Armenian military for Azerbaijan in violation of Israeli law, allowing it to once again sell the unmanned ‘suicide’ aircraft. The incident took place when the company officials were in Azerbaijan to finalize a contract for the sale of its Orbiter 1K UAV when they were asked to strike the Armenian military position in 2017.
According to Israeli media reports, the company, Aeronautics Defense Systems, was working on a potential $20 million deal with Baku when Azerbaijani officials asked its specialists to demonstrate its Orbiter 1K unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Karabakh Armenian soldiers in the summer of 2017.
The reports said two Aeronautics employees refused to carry out the attack before two higher-ranking executives eventually agreed to do it. They said the drone did not directly hit their targets but two soldiers were injured in the attack.
Aeronautics’ export license was suspended after a complaint was filed with the Israeli Defense Ministry. Israel’s Justice Ministry moved in August 2018 to charge the company’s chief executive, deputy CEO, and other employees with violating an Israeli law on security export controls. The company denied any wrongdoing.
The Times of Israel newspaper reported that the Defense Ministry returned the export license on Monday, leading the company to inform the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the ban on Orbiter 1K sales to its “central customer ‘A’” has been lifted. “The company can continue to supply the UAV to the aforementioned customer as soon as possible,” Aeronautics said in a statement.