The firing of a missile using an armed Predator drone by the U.S. on suspected Al Qaeda leaders in November 2001 made it clear that the way wars are fought is permanently changed. In the following two decades, drones became the most iconic tool of the war on terror. Highly advanced, multimillion-dollar US drones were continually deployed in targeted killing operations. But their use was limited to powerful nations of the world.
Later, with improvements in navigation systems and wireless technologies in consumer electronics and hobbyist drones, a second style of military drone came into existence – not in Washington, but in Istanbul. This caught the attention of the world in Ukraine in 2022, when it proved to be capable to hold back one of the most dreadful militaries on the planet.
Meanwhile, in the still new era of drone warfare, The Bayraktar TB2 drone of the Turkish company Baykar Corporation marks the beginning of a new chapter. Cheap, widely available drones have changed the way smaller nations fight modern wars. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is reckoned to bring these new weapons into popular consciousness, there is more to the story.
Blasts in Armenia, streamed on YouTube in 2020, showcasing this new shape of war to the world. In a blue-tinted video clip, a radar dish spins below cyan crosshairs until it ejects into a bubble of smoke. The action repeats twice: a crosshair aims a vehicle installed with a spinning dish sensor, its earthen obstacles no defense against aerial attack, to leave an empty crater behind.
The video clip released on YouTube in September 2020 was one of the many Azerbaijan military released during the Second Nagarno-Karabakh War, which it aired against neighboring Armenia on the same day.