We started purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles long time ago, more than 10 years - President Ilham Aliyev

We started purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles long time ago, more than 10 years - President Ilham Aliyev

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.24

Trend:

We started purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles a long time ago, more than 10 years, if my memory doesn’t fail me, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in an interview to editor-in-chief of Russian influential “Natsionalnaya oborona” magazine, well-known military expert Igor Korotchenko, Trend reports.

“Before the second Karabakh war, unmanned aerial vehicles were not used on such a scale and with such efficiency. We started purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles a long time ago, more than 10 years, if my memory doesn’t fail me. These were Israeli-made weapons of destruction. We mastered and applied them during short-term hostilities in April 2016. This was a surprise for the Armenian side. But again, returning to what I said earlier, we did not aggravate that conflict because we had no intentions of a large-scale military operation, as it were. So it ended quickly. Subsequently, we began to acquire other vehicles, i.e. in April 2016 we used Harop. Then we started acquiring other Israeli unmanned vehicles, namely Sky Striker – this is no longer a secret, so there is no point in hiding it – and others such as Orbiter, as you said, reconnaissance and combat aerial vehicles. At that time, the Turkish military-industrial complex had not yet started the production of UAVs. As soon as it did, I think we were the first foreign buyers of “Bayraktars TB2”, which also proved to be very effective in terms of reconnaissance and in terms of delivering accurate strikes. But, of course, it was necessary to carry out the coordination and distribution of responsibilities, so to speak, between unmanned aerial vehicles,” Azerbaijani president added.

“As for “Bayraktars”, several of them were constantly in the air during the hostilities. Of course, sometimes the weather conditions created certain obstacles, but since the weather was clear on most of the days, they worked almost on a daily basis, perhaps with some short breaks. To coordinate and compare Israeli and Turkish UAVs required great skill, of course. The list of their targets was different because the destructive power of loitering ammunition is higher than that of “Rocketsan”. Therefore, strategic and large targets were hit by “Harop”, while armored vehicles and other targets were mainly hit by “Bayraktar TB2”. But, as you know, “Harop” is a single-use weapon, so we chose the targets that were worth hitting with “Harop” very carefully,” President Ilham Aliyev said.

“In addition, of course, as you correctly noted, “Bayraktars TB2” are also reconnaissance aircraft and therefore it was important to coordinate their actions with artillery fire systems, with aviation systems, and this, of course, required great professionalism and skill because it is very difficult. It is very difficult. I must say that we did not make any mistakes in this area during the hostilities. There were mistakes, there were shortcomings, we are aware of them and we corrected them in the course of the war. I am far from idealizing every step we take. We must tell the truth to our people, including the army leadership. I reprimanded them several times for miscalculations, but they were not fundamental. As for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, there were no mistakes,” the head of state said.

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