The Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) company of Canada says it has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to "countries with unclear usage" in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in fighting against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh [(Artsakh)], CBC reported.
The company said it became aware late last week that some of the recreational aircraft engines produced by its Austrian subsidiary, Rotax, are being used on Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"We have recently been made aware that some Rotax engines are currently used in military UAVs, and have started a thorough investigation immediately," Martin Langelier, BPR's senior vice president and the company's spokesperson, told Radio Canada International. "In the meantime, we are suspending delivery of aircraft engines in countries with unclear usage."
Langelier said that all Rotax aircraft engines are designed and produced in Austria exclusively for civilian purposes and are certified for civilian use only.
Canada suspended most exports of defense technology to Turkey in October of 2019 following the Turkish invasion of northwestern Syria.
Gabriele Juen, a spokesperson for the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Rotax engines are used in various motorsports and drones could be used "for a multitude of solely civilian purposes."
"The European Union Control List of Dual Use Items does not list the drone engine in question as a dual use good item," Juen said. "As a consequence, no approval permit is required under Austrian legislation that regulates the export of defence-related goods."
Kelsey Gallagher, a researcher with the disarmament group Project Ploughshares who has studied Canadian exports of drone technology to Turkey, said the matter of BRP recreational aircraft engines ending up on Turkish combat drones exposes a serious flaw in international arms control regimes.