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Taranis alongside a RAF Typhoon.

Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones “are rapidly changing the military balance in the region after Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia in Karabakh,” according to Britain’s The Guardian. The British MoD wants to get cheaper offensive drones

The British army is expected to start a new program for the purchase of armed drones in response to the controversial use of Azerbaijani military technology in the victory over Armenia, in the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh, writes The Guardian.

Representatives of the (British) Ministry of Defense believe that the use of Azerbaijan’s cheaper Turkish drones during the six weeks of the autumn war in Karabakh was crucial in forcing Armenians to cede control of the territory in that region.

Defense Department sources say the UK wants to procure its own cheaper drones as part of a five-year defense plan to be unveiled in early 2021, despite warnings about the risks of the proliferation of deadly drones.

Earlier this month, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Turkish Bayraktari are an example of how other countries are now “leading” in military technology. At the same time, he noted that Turkish drones used by Azerbaijan were “responsible for destroying hundreds of armored vehicles and even air defense systems”, but that there was video evidence suggesting that they had killed many people in the war for Nagorno Karabakh.

In mid-October, black-and-white footage appeared in a Clash Report, on Twitter and Telegram closely linked to the Turkish military, showing a series of TB2 strikes targeting Armenian positions (see link below).

Manufactured by Baykar Makin, TB2 drones cost between $ 1 million and $ 2 million, far less than nearly $ 20 million per drone paid for by the British military for a fleet of 16 top-of-the-line high-end drones manufactured by U.S. General Atomics.

Turkish TB2 drones have a significantly shorter range of up to 150 km, but can stay in the air for up to 24 hours. Because they are cheaper, the military can afford to lose them in battle, the British media notes.

These drones “are rapidly changing the military balance in the region and are being actively used to attack the Kurdish (armed) opposition inside and outside Turkey, as well as in Libya during the country’s civil war.” In the summer, on the eve of the conflict, Azerbaijan bought from Turkey, according to some estimates, about twenty TB2s and deployed them so quickly and efficiently that many believe they were operated by Turkish pilots, according to The Guardian.

At the same time, it is stated that Armenian forces managed to overthrow several Bayraktars. The report, released in November by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), includes photos of components of a damaged Turkish-made drone, including the Garmin navigation system.

Garmin said its product was “not designed or intended for military use” and asked its dealers to stop selling to Baykar. In October, Canada also suspended exports of targeting equipment manufactured by Ontario-based Wescam – a subsidiary of US company L3Harris – after it was found in a TB2 drone, according to British media.

A certain expert said British plans for drones would legitimize technology that could promote conflicts in disputed areas. Chris Coles, director of the NGO Drone Wars UK, said: “Civil society organizations have been warning for some time that, as drones reduce the cost of warfare, they are likely to trigger this kind of bitter, deadly conflict between neighboring states.”