Israel Aerospace Industries has offered to sell Azerbaijan its Heron 1 and Searcher 2 unmanned aircraft systems as part of “comprehensive solutions” to answer the nation’s defence needs, Flightglobal reported on Monday.
Made during a recent visit to Azerbaijan by an IAI delegation, the offer was prompted by the potential customer’s need to support its oil and gas industries using defence equipment.
A new Azad Systems joint venture between Azerbaijan’s defence ministry and Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems launched production activities in March.
Azeri press reports suggest that its Baku facility will assemble and manufacture the Israeli company’s Aerostar and Orbiter UAS.
“Eastern Europe has become a major market for Israeli-made UAS and the marketing efforts are only increasing,” says an industry source.
Israeli industry has become a major supplier to Azerbaijan over recent years, having previously supplied other UAS, artillery systems and communications equipment.
These developments have made Turkey, a fellow Turkic ally of Azerbaijan in its struggle against Armenia, quite uneasy given its strained ties with Israel.
Turkey has also emerged as a major weapons supplier and has developed its own extensive line of unmanned aerial vehicles for varrying mission requirements.