ANKARA --- As a decades-old conflict has reignited in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani forces battling with Armenia to capture disputed territory have unveiled a new tool in their armoury.
Azerbaijan’s military has published slick footage of Turkish-made armed drones blitzing scores of Armenian positions, striking air defence systems, artillery units and tanks.
Nagorno-Karabakh is the fifth foreign conflict zone where Turkish drones have been deployed in recent years, with the country’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also taking to the skies in Syria, Libya, northern Iraq and the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey and Greece are at loggerheads over maritime rights.
The expanding Turkish drone industry is the culmination of a two-decade drive to boost defence production with the aim of reducing Turkey’s reliance on western arms purchases and stoking national pride. While some efforts, such as a plan to produce a fighter jet, are seen by many analysts as overambitious, the UAV programme has made Turkey an emerging drone power.
“Turkey is not overtaking the US, Israel or China but I’d say that Turkey is emerging as a significant competitor to all three countries,” said Dan Gettinger, an analyst at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, a US-based research institute. (end of excerpt)
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