Baku set to purchase Turkish unmanned combat drones
Azerbaijan is planning to acquire Turkish-made combat drones, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said after the Azerbaijani parliament approved a bill to purchase armed systems from Turkey.
“Efforts in this direction [for the purchase of the drones] continue. Now we are seeing results,” US magazine Defense News quoted Hasanov as saying during his visit to Ankara on 22 June.
Hasanov did not specify which drone systems Baku intends to buy, according to the report.
Turkish sources told the US magazine Azerbaijan was interested in buying the Bayraktar TB2, a medium-altitude, long-range tactical unmanned drone (UAV) that had a crucial role in Turkey’s recent military operation in war-torn Libya.
The drone can also be used for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering missions.
Previously, Baku has acquired Turkish-made multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).
Military analysts say Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey, intends to use the Turkish drones to gain a military advantage over neighboring rival Armenia in the decades-long conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Since the late 1980s, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in engaged in a hot conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which, along with seven adjacent territories, was occupied with Armenian military support in the early 1990s.
“Turkish armed drones have been a successful game changer in the Libyan civil war in favor of the side Turkey supports,” an unnamed security analyst told Defense News.
“Azerbaijan apparently is keen to use the Turkish drones to reshape military balances [in the south Caucasus] in its favor.”
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