Israeli Kamikaze-drone Exporter Under Police Investigation Over Deal With 'Key Client'

In the past, reports said Aeronautics Defense Systems lost export license for allegedly live testing its suicide drone on Armenian forces at Azerbaijan's request

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Israeli police have opened an investigation into Israel's Aeronautics Defense Systems for a "deal with a key client," it was cleared for publication on Tuesday.

A blanket gag order was placed on all of the details of the investigation, which police said had been taking place for a number of weeks. The investigation also includes Israel's Defense Ministry.

Aeronautics said in response that it would cooperate fully with the investigation and would make every effort possible that to allow it to run its course quickly and efficiently.

News that Israel's national anti-fraud unit launched its investigation comes on the backdrop of a rare decision by Israel's Defense Minister to freeze Aeronautics' arms export license.

'Israeli made suicide drone used in Nagorno-Karabakh'

That same month, it was reported that the Defense Ministry opened an investigation into the firm in wake of a complaint that Aeronautics representatives demonstrated the use of a kamikaze drone in Azerbaijan by attacking a manned position of the Armenian army.

According to the compliant, the two Israeli drone operators refused to hit the Armenian position, with senior representatives of the company eventually operating the armed and unmanned aircraft themselves. Ultimately the drones are said to have missed their targets, and no damage was caused, but according to the complaint, one of them struck at a distance of about 100 meters (330 feet) from the position.

For its part, however, Aeronautics Defense Systems strongly denied that its staff carried out such a mission, saying the company "never carries out demonstrations [of the operations of the drone] on live targets, and that was true in this case as well."

At the time, Aeronautics informed financial officials that the Defense Ministry had frozen the marketing and export licenses of its Orbiter 1k to “an important customer of the company in a foreign country.” The company didn’t mention the name of the country and it is still permitted to conduct sales with other nations.

Orbiter 1k simulationCredit: Practical Information