An Israeli Firm Reportedly Sent A Suicide Drone To Bomb Armenian Troops For Azerbaijan

Military Tech
Aeronautics

ISIS may have pioneered the use of the suicide drone on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, but formal governments are increasingly getting in on the action.


An Israeli drone maker apparently attempted to bomb Armenian military personnel with “one of its unmanned kamikaze aerial vehicles” back in October 2017, the Times of Israel reported on Wednesday. According to the leaked complaint with the Israeli Defense Ministry, drone manufacturer Aeronautics Defense Systems’ Orbiter 1K suicide drone was dispatched to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region “at the request of Azerbaijani clients during a sales demonstration.”

Here are the technical details, per Joseph Trevithick at The War Zone:

Aeronautics employees reportedly refused to carry out the 2017 mission and company executives subsequently stepped in to fly the drone themselves. Though it’s not clear if this was deliberate or not, the drone reportedly missed the target, only injuring two ethnic Armenian fighters.

It could very well be that the executives made this decision consciously since Orbiter 1K has a so-called man-in-the-loop guidance system whereby the operator is either actively flying or otherwise monitoring the video feeds from the drone and they can see what it sees throughout the mission.

"The Israeli government has permitted private defense companies to demonstrate their wares in actual combat,” he writes, “but this is rare and is unlikely to have occurred in this case, since Israel does not view Armenia as an enemy.”

State-run suicide drones are nothing new: U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Army have all independently pursued kamikaze drones deployable through man-portable systems. Indeed, the Israeli military has embraced kamikaze drones in recent years, and the Justice Ministry’s complaint primarily focuses on Aeronautics’ violation of the country’s security and arms export control regulations rather than, say, a new form of explosion delivery.

But the incident underscores the practical future of kamikaze drones in government arsenals, a rising concern among national security experts. In April 2015, a drone deployed radioactive material to the top of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s official residence. More recently, anti-government dissidents attempted to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with an explosives-laden drone during a military celebration.

Ironically, the world first learned that the Israel had sold suicide drones to the Azerbaijan thanks to an April music video from pop star Narmin Karimbayova that appeared to show one of Israel’s IAI Harop loitering munition systems launched from a truck-mounted missile battery.

Suicide drones: Not even once.

Comedian Steve Carell will be starring in an upcoming show on Netflix about the new Space Force that's being described as a "workplace comedy."

Yeah, that's right. The Office, but in freaking space.

Read More Show Less
George Washington takes command of the Continental army. (Mount Vernon via Smithsonian)

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch; Flatiron Books (413 pages, $29.99)

———

New York City has seen dark times, but in the spring and early summer of 1776 the outlook was especially grim. The Revolutionary War was in its early, chaotic days, the British fleet sailed en masse toward the city, and in a desperate defensive measure, General George Washington ordered thousands of his Continental troops into lower Manhattan. Almost a third of the city's citizens fled, and Washington's filthy, untrained and undisciplined soldiers quartered themselves in the elegant houses left behind. They were hungry, cold and scared, and they numbed their fear with drink, gambling and prostitutes. They were about to face the greatest military force in the world, outgunned and outmanned, fighting for a country that hadn't been created yet.

In hindsight, America's victory against the British seems like one of history's inevitabilities, but in the beginning it was anything but. And had a small group of pro-British conspirators had their way, the Glorious Cause might have lost its essential leader — George Washington — to imprisonment, execution or assassination.

Read More Show Less
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are disagreeing with President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lindsey Graham essentially laid the deaths of the unknown number of U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday at the feet of President Donald Trump during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg News reports.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers, family and community gathered in Morehead City to render honors and witness the transfer and memorial of U.S. Army Sgt James Slape Nov. 9-11, 2018. Slape will hold a temporary resting place in Morehead City before ultimately moving to Arlington Cemetery. Slape supported Operations Resolute Support and Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard)

An ISIS suicide bomber killed and wounded an unknown number of American soldiers in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less