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Israeli Police Criminal Probe into Drone-Maker Bombing Artsakh Target


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#1 onjig

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:10 PM

Israeli Police Launches Criminal Probe into Drone-Maker Suspected of Bombing Artsakh Targets

orbiter_1.jpg

 

An Orbiter drone being launched

The Israeli police announced Tuesday that it has opened a criminal investigation in a drone manufacturer that allegedly live tested a suicide drone on Artsakh targets on the orders of Azerbaijan earlier this year.

The Times of Israel reported  that a police statement confirmed that the Israeli Aeronautics Defense System Ltd. was the target of the criminal investigation.

“An investigation is ongoing against Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. in regards to a deal with a ‘significant customer,’” police said in a statement Tuesday.

A gag order issued by an Israeli court on Monday to limit the flow of information about the case prompted the news to come out. The police’s ability to identify the “significant customer” is among the restrictions imposed by the gag order.

The Israel Police’s Unit of International Crime Investigations, known by its Hebrew acronym, Yahbal, is leading the investigation, according to Times of Israel.

In August, the Israeli defense ministry’s Defense Export Controls Agency halted the sales license of Aeronautics Defense System after an investigation was launched on a complaint that company officials were ordered by Azerbaijan to carry out a live test on Artsakh targets of its Orbiter 1K model UAV, which can be outfitted with a 2.2 to 4.4-pound explosive load and flown on “suicide missions.”

The Hay Zinvor news outlet quoted Colonel Armen Gyozalian of the Artsakh army as confirming that two people were lightly wounded in an attack on Artsakh targets on July 7.

Aeronautics, which was poised to make a $20 million deal with the “significant customer” said it would “fully cooperate with any examination on any issue and would work to the best of its capabilities so the investigation will be as swift as possible.”

The gag rule revealed that the police investigation has been underway since September 4 against Aeronautics, which, according to Times of Israel, has had dealing with the Myanmar military junta, which is accused of ethnic cleansing for its treatment of the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

 

The live test against Artsakh targets that is the focus of the investigation would be illegal under Israeli law. “It would require a seldom-granted permit to carry out demonstrations against real targets. In this case, Aeronautics Defense Systems would be even less likely to receive such a permit, as Israel does not consider Armenia to be an enemy state,” according to Times of Israel.

During a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Armenia’s Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan said that Armenia was concerned with any country selling weapons to Azerbaijan, because, according to the minister, Azerbaijan’s policies and its lack of respect for human rights did not guarantee that the country would utilize the weapons according to international norms and regulations.

Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev announced that last year that his country had purchased $5 billion in weapons and military equipment from Israel.

http://asbarez.com/1...rtsakh-targets/

 



#2 Yervant1

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:28 AM

CTech
Jan 2 2018
 
  •  
  • Following Police Investigation, Israeli Drone Maker Facing Hurdles in the U.S.
According to past media reports, Israel-based Aeronautics had allegedly carried out a live demonstration of one of its suicide drones on an Armenian army post
Amir Kurz 19:0802.01.18
Currently under police investigation in Israel, Israeli drone maker Aeronautics Ltd. is facing regulatory obstacles in the U.S., according to several persons familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Due to the ongoing investigation, U.S. authorities did not issue approvals Aeronautics needs to complete the acquisition of San Diego, California-based Chassis Plans Inc., these people said. Representatives of U.S.-based vendors also voiced concerns regarding their ability to get the permits required to continue selling components to the Israeli company, these people further noted.   

 

Israeli police is investigating a deal Aeronautics signed with a non-Israeli client. An Israeli court has issued a sweeping gag order on all details pertaining to the investigation, which has been underway since September. According to past media reports, Aeronautics had allegedly carried out a live demonstration of one of its suicide drones on an Armenian army post at the request of the Azerbaijani army. The Azerbaijani army, was responsible for 20% of Aeronautics’ sales in 2016, according to the company’s filing.
CAL046685_l.jpg Aeronautics CEO Amos Matan. Photo: PR
 

 

On Sunday, Aeronautics announced in a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange filing it is pushing back the finalization of the deal to acquire Chassis Plans.

 

 

In September, the company announced it had signed a $6 million deal to acquire the U.S.-based manufacturer of computer systems for military and industrial use. The company noted the deal is expected to close by the end of November, further noting that if required approvals are not obtained by year’s end, both sides will be allowed to call off the deal. On Friday, the companies amended the original agreement, pushing the deal's deadline to the end of May, according to the announcement made by Aeronautics on Sunday.
 

“the terms for the completion of the deal have yet to mature,” an Aeronautics spokesman said in reply to a request for comment. “The company continues to work to complete the deal and obtain all required permits. Aeronautics continues its operations, even reporting recently signed deals,” he further noted.

 

 

After listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in June, Aeronautics has seen its stock price plunge 40%. The company intended to utilize the acquisition of Chassis Plans to get more deals in Israel, unlocking the use of U.S.-Israel military aid funds, according to the company’s September announcement. In a prospectus filed to the Tel Aviv Exchange, the company noted it sees expansion in the U.S. as strategic.
 


#3 Yervant1

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 09:42 AM

Haaretz, Israel
Aug 29 2018
 
 
Israeli Kamikaze Drone-makers to Be Charged With Fraud
 
Ten Aeronautics employees are expected to be charged with aggravated fraud and violating defense export laws
 
 1.6430479.584915691.jpg
Haaretz
 
Israeli kamikaze-drone exporter under police investigation over deal with 'key client'
 
The prosecution will indict 10 employees of the Israeli drone-manufacturing company Aeronautics, Israel's Justice Ministry said Wednesday.
 
The suspicions attributed to the company managers and employees are fraudulent acquisition and a violation of the law overseeing defense exports.
 
The Justice Ministry stated that letters summoning the employees for a court hearing were sent to the company's CEO, Amos Matan, Deputy CEO Meir Rizmovitch, development director Haim Hivzshar, marketing director David Goldin and others.
 
In August 2017, the Defense Ministry made the unusual announcement that it was suspending the company's permission to sell and export drone technology to a certain client. Following the announcement, the police opened an investigation, and a gag order was issued concerning details of this probe.
 
The branch supervising defense export allowed Aeronautics to continue to sell its products to other countries, but after the freezing of the company's license, its stocks in the stock exchange dropped by 17 percent.
 
The company, which is based in Yavneh, south of Tel Aviv, produces other kinds of unmanned technological devices. Its revenues in 2016 were estimated at over 420 million shekels ($116.198 million).  
 
 

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#4 Yervant1

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 09:50 AM

The Drive
Aug 30 2018
 
 
Israeli Company Allegedly Flew A Suicide Drone On A Real Combat Mission In Azerbaijan Israel's Justice Ministry says what the firm described as a "demonstration" was actually a strike that injured two ethnic Armenian fighters.
August 30, 2018
 
The Israeli government says it plans to charge executives and other employees of a defense contractor in the country with fraud and violating the country’s export controls for military equipment. The allegations reportedly stem from an incident in Azerbaijan in which executives from Aeronautics, Limited “demonstrated” the capabilities of their Orbiter 1K suicide droneby flying a very real strike on Armenian-backed forces in a disputed border region.
 
Israel’s Ministry of Justice announced that it would bring the charges against Aeronautics, which came after a year-long investigation into the firm, in an official statement on Aug. 29, 2018. Though the press release offered few details, Israeli media separately obtained a leaked copy of a complaint within the Ministry of Defense that mentioned the Azerbaijan-Armenia connection and had reportedly touched off the proceedings, to begin with.
 

Aeronautics “has never carried out a demonstration against live targets, including in this case,” the company said in a statement after Israeli newspaper Maariv first reported the Defense Ministry complaint. “We are convinced that after we first present our position at the hearing, the State Prosecutor’s Office will reach an informed decision that there is no reason to put the company or any of its officers in court and will order the case closed,” the firm added in a response to the public announcement from the Justice Ministry.

Per Israeli media reports, the alleged incident occurred in October 2017. Officials in Azerbaijan requested the company’s personnel show off what the Orbiter 1K could do against ethnic Armenian personnel in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Israeli government has permitted private defense companies to demonstrate their wares in actual combat, but this is rare and is unlikely to have occurred in this case, since Israel does not view Armenia as an enemy, according to The Times of Israel.

The video below shows Azerbaijani forces demonstrating their Orbiter 1K loitering munitions.
 

The often violent dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as simply Karabakh, dates to before the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of the two countries. Though part of Azerbaijan, the region has a significant ethnic Armenian population and a rebel movement that seeks to break away and join Armenia, which has, in turn, actively supported their aspirations.

Aeronautics employees reportedly refused to carry out the 2017 mission and company executives subsequently stepped in to fly the drone themselves. Though it’s not clear if this was deliberate or not, the drone reportedly missed the target, only injuring two ethnic Armenian fighters.

It could very well be that the executives made this decision consciously since Orbiter 1K has a so-called man-in-the-loop guidance system whereby the operator is either actively flying or otherwise monitoring the video feeds from the drone and they can see what it sees throughout the mission. This is specifically supposed to help improve accuracy since the operator can correct the course of the drone constantly and account for any movement on the part of the target. It also provides an option to abort the strike right at the last moment to avoid hitting innocent civilians or if the target is no longer reachable.
 

This is a key feature of loitering munitions in general, which are a sort of a cross between a missile and a drone that can fly over a certain area using its onboard electro-optical and infrared video cameras to surveil the situation and search for targets. It also has an explosive warhead to directly attack any targets it finds. 

Israel has been at the forefront of the development of both loitering munitions and man-in-the-loop guidance packages. Azerbaijani authorities, which have developed very close ties with their Israeli counterparts, in no small part over their shared concerns about Iran, have also been very interested in the capabilities these suicide drones provide.

The Orbiter 1K isn't the only loitering munition the Azerbaijani military reportedly has in service. They have also acquired a number of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Harops and had successfully used them in combat prior to Aeronautics reportedly fraudulent “demonstration.” Azerbaijan used at least one in April 2016 to destroy a bus carrying ethnic Armenian fighters.

In April 2018, video footage slipped out of Azerbaijani forces using Harop in a slickly produced music video honoring the country’s State Border Service. Earlier in August 2018, the suicide drones reappeared at drills along the Caspian Sea, on the opposite side of the country from Nagorno-Karabakh.

You can see footage of Azerbaijani forces firing a Harop from a truck-mounted launcher at approximately 1:54 in the runtime of the video below.

Though Azerbaijan, Iran, KazakhstanRussia, and Turkmenistan, all agreed in principle to a deal to finally divide up this body of water on Aug. 12, 2018, it had long been a hotly contested region. The exact position of the maritime boundaries could block certain countries from exploiting the oil and natural gas resources under the land-locked sea.

In 2001, an Iranian military vessel reportedly threatened a British Petroleum research vessel in a portion of the Caspian Azerbaijan had claimed as it national territory. Then, in 2009, Iran actually positioned its own oil rig in the same general area, prompting Azerbaijan to turn to the United States for help in handling the situation.

Those tensions, combined with the Israeli Justice Ministry’s assertion that Aeronautics had fraudulently obtained some sort of authorization relating to demonstrating the Orbiter 1K in Azerbaijan, raise the possibility, albeit remote, that the company might have claimed they were planning to use the drone in some way against Israel’s arch-nemesis Iran.

Israeli authorities had reportedly already begun investigating Aeronautics in September 2017, a month before the alleged strike in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to The Times of Israel. The Justice Ministry specifically accuses the company of “fraudulently obtaining something under aggravated circumstances,” Maariv’s report explained.

 

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