There are at least two F-16s at Ganja International Airport in Azerbaijan, our analysis of an Oct. 3 @planetlabs satellite image shows. The fighter jets are likely operated by the Turkish Air Force, alongside a possible CN-235 cargo aircraft. Here’s a short thread why.
We compared the approximate measurements and visual characteristics (canard wings, color, etc.) with a variety of aircraft, including those operated by the Azerbaijani Air Force (MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-25, L-39). The Turkish-operated F-16 is the closest match.
There's also a larger aircraft on the Ganja apron, which we think is likely to be a CASA/IPTN CN-235 transport aircraft, also used by the Turkish Air Force. (It does resemble an Alenia C-27 too, but less likely to be in Azerbaijan due to its operators).
In late July, Turkey deployed several F-16s to Azerbaijan for the joint TurAz Qartalı-2020 military exercises. Back then, at least five Turkish Air Force F-16s were filmed at the same location at Ganja International Airport.
While this satellite imagery analysis may be a confirmation of Turkish F-16 presence in Azerbaijan, it’s by no means evidence that one of those fighter jets shot down an Armenian Air Force Su-25 on Sept. 29, as was claimed by their Defense Minister.
Thanks to @carlottagall for raising the case of the F-16s in Azerbaijan, and @ckoettl, @csbiggers, @johnismay and @obretix for their expert analysis and insight.
The @nytimes Visual Investigations team will continue to monitor the ongoing fighting Nagorno-Karabakh, which has killed at least dozens of people. Feel free to reach out with tips and comments via DM, e-mail ([email protected]) or messaging apps (see profile).
You can follow @trbrtc.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: