BAKU ($1=1.70 Azerbaijan Manats) — Israeli-made loitering munition IAI Harop belonging to the Air Force of Azerbaijan attacked Armenian targets. This was reported by the Telegram channel Conflict Zone, sharing video materials from the attack. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that this night Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed buoys along their border.
According to Conflict Zone, Harop IAIs hit an ammunition depot and a military unit of the Armenian Armed Forces. The attack took place in the towns of Jermuk and Sotk. Twitter users also reported explosions in these two areas.
The use of IAI Harop by the Azerbaijani armed forces is not the first time. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh the years 2016, 2018, and 2020 are the actual combat experience of IAI Harop. Apart from Azerbaijan, operators of this drone are Israel, Germany, Morocco, India, Turkey, and Singapore. There is no information on how much Harop loitering ammunition Azerbaijan has purchased from Israel.
About IAI Harop
IAI Harop is designed and manufactured by the Israeli company Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI]. Its primary functional effectiveness is flying between battlefields and positions and engaging the target through self-destruction.
The IAI Harop can be launched in two ways – a ground launcher and a naval launcher. According to Israeli sources, the IAI is working on the possibility that this drone was launched from a combat aircraft.
The operational range of the drone is 1,000 km and it can stay in the air for up to six hours. The drone is not autonomous and is controlled by an operator. The operator can select or reject a moving or static target. The “eyes of the operator” are electro-optical sensors and cameras.
The IAI Harop also has a smaller version for shorter distances. It can remain in the air for up to three hours and is well suited for urban combat and tactical search for enemy individuals who periodically hide and reappear. The warhead of the small version of the drone is a maximum of 4 kg, and the dock of the main larger version is 23 kg.
Azerbaijan and Armenia had conflicted for Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.
During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas. Since 1992, negotiations were conducted within the OSCE Minsk Group framework on a peaceful conflict settlement. The group led by co-chairs – Russia, the USA, and France.
In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through Russia’s mediation, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.
During a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. Simultaneously, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, 2020, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia and both countries announced mobilization. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they told the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also says about the shelling of the territory of Armenia. After six weeks of fighting, Baku gained a significant advantage and territorial gains. A trilateral peace agreement was signed on the night of November 9-10, 2020.
It led to a ceasefire and deployed Russian peacekeepers in the region to remain there for at least five years. Armenia undertook to transfer to Azerbaijan the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh and three adjacent areas. The road connecting Armenia with the separatist region’s capital, Stepanakert, is protected by Russian troops.
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