Israeli kamikadze-drone sales to Azerbaijan blocked after complaint it hit Armenians

Israeli Defense Minister freezes license for Azerbaijan amid investigation over reports that Aeronautics demonstrated use of aircraft by attacking Armenian army position.

Israel’s Defense Ministry has frozen some of the licenses of Aeronautics, preventing the firm from exporting its drones to Azerbaijan, one of its major clients, Haaretz reports.

According to the source, the action comes in the wake of an investigation of the Israeli firm by the Ministry of Defense Security Authority which was examining a complaint that Aeronautics representatives demonstrated the use of a kamikaze drone in Azerbaijan, by attacking a manned position of the Armenian army.

The company cannot export the drone to Azerbaijan — as per its original contract— or demonstrate its use, or form any ties with representatives of the Azeri army involving the drone. According to Aeronautics, the contract for supplying the kamikadze drone, an armed unmanned aircraft, totals $20 million for the next two years, Haaretz reports.

The Aeronautics licenses for Azerbaijan were frozen by the  Defense Export Controls Agency in the Defense Ministry. This body is in charge of the implementation and monitoring of the Defense Export Control Law, which contains the rules governing the defense industries. Without a marketing license, the Israeli defense industry is not allowed to form ties with an official source in a foreign country involving Israeli weapons. Without an export license, it is forbidden to send the weapons outside Israel. The Defense Export Controls Agency is also supposed to monitor the activity of the defense companies and to ensure that they abide by the rules and regulations. Among other things, it was decided that demonstrations by Israeli companies worldwide, like that of drones, would be performed without firing or using ammunition, and would only demonstrate how they are flown.

The company announced that it believes that the license freeze is temporary, “and is being done in the wake of an investigation by the Defense Ministry relating to the company’s activity in the client’s country and the permits required for it.” They also said that the company is examining the issue with the Defense Ministry. The rest of the company’s activity was not restricted by the ministry, nor was its overall activity in Azerbaijan.

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