Georgia to replace combat aircraft fleet with drones

By bne IntelliNews March 9, 2017

Georgia is to get rid of its fleet of 12 combat aircraft and replace them with drones, Eurasianet reported on March 7 citing Brigadier General Vladimir Chichibaia. Only one of the dozen Russian-made Sukhoi Su-25 jets has flown recently because the supplier of parts - Russia - has declined to provide them to Georgia.

Georgia's aircraft fleet was purchased before its 2008 war with Russia, when the latter invaded its southern neighbour ostensibly to come to the defence of separatist forces in South-Ossetia. The two countries severed all diplomatic ties back then and have yet to recommence them, although trade in some commodities has been restarted. Those commodities, predictably, do not include armaments, given how the only likely enemy Georgia would use such deliveries against would be Russia.

Both Russia and Georgia used Su-25s in the 2008 conflict, with both claiming a few “kills”.

The decision to shift away from attack aircraft to drones amounts to a recognition that Georgia's arsenal would not stand a chance in the event of another confrontation with Russia, the brigadier general said.

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