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Azerbaijan Is Arming Up Amid Territorial Dispute With Armenia

With a complicated security environment, Azerbaijan is holding its first defense exhibition and has received a new delivery of missile systems.

by Ryan Faith
Sep 18 2014, 9:39pm

Photo by Vitaly Kuzmin

Azerbaijan is hosting the first ever Azerbaijan International Defence Industry Exhibition (ADEX), showcasing various arms producers, armaments, and new arms deals. Indeed, this week has been a big one, not just for the exhibitors but for the Armenian military as well.

On Monday, Azerbaijani military sources told defense industry journalists that the Azerbaijani armed forces have just taken delivery of a second battalion of Buk-MB medium Surface-to-Air Missile systems, modernized in Belarus. The Buk family of systems is best known for their role in the July shoot down of Malaysian Airlines passenger flight MH17 over contested territory in Ukraine.

A Ka-52 helicopter in flight. Photo by Sergey Vladimirov/Flickr.

Further, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has reportedly been expressing an interest in two new Russian systems. The Russian Kamov Ka-52 Alligator 'Hokum-B' is an advanced scout-attack helicopter in use in Iraq. The other system that attracted interest was the BMPT-72 'Terminator 2' Fire Support Combat Vehicle, is built on the chassis of the venerable T-72 tank, but replaces the tank turret with a weapons station. The BMPT-72 has two 30-mm cannon and four anti-tank missiles. The main feature of the system is that it has a much wider range of motion than a traditional tank turret, which is a key feature for tanks involved in urban combat.

Azerbaijan is currently locked in a long-running territorial dispute with neighboring Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. The Azerbaijani security environment is further complicated by the many competing and overlapping claims in Caspian Sea, which it borders along with four other nations, including Iran and Russia.

Follow Ryan Faith on Twitter: @Operation_Ryan

Photo by Vitaly Kuzmin