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Azerbaijani air defense capabilities
Azerbaijani air defense system is equipped with systems and radars of various types, capable of inflicting losses on its enemy, covering strategic facilities not only on the territory of Azerbaijan but also far beyond the borders of the republic. The anti-aircraft complexes and systems of medium and long range are deployed around military and industrial centers, aiming to prevent aircraft and combat helicopters attacks. They also have anti-missile potential.
During the Soviet period, the air defense of Azerbaijani territory, or rather of its oil fields, was of great importance. That is why a large number of military air defense facilities were established there.
There are one anti-aircraft missile regiment, four anti-aircraft missile brigades and two radio engineering battalions in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani anti-aircraft missile units are trained in the 115-th training center near the Kurdamir airbase.
After the collapse of the USSR, С-75М2 / М3 medium-range complexes, low-altitude С-125М / М1, long-range S-200ВМ were in service with the Azerbaijani units in the Ayaty and Mingechaur regions. Military medium-range air defense systems “Krug”, around 150 “Strela-2М” and “Strela-3”, 12 combat vehicles “Osa-AKM”, about 6 Strela air defense systems -10SV, and around 50 ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” were also inherited from the Soviet Army.
In 2012, Azerbaijan started purchasing of two C-300PMU-2 “Favorit” C-200 divisions from Russia, deployed in the western and eastern suburb of Baku. Two C-35ВМ anti-aircraft divisions of the long-range air defense system were spotted east of Baku. Azerbaijan also has in service at least one Russian-made division of the Buk M1-2 air defense system.
In 2011, Baku acquired the Belorussian-made T38 Stilet anti-aircraft missile systems. Two divisions of the Buk-MB air defense missile system were bought in Belarus. In 2014, Belarus also supplied 9 S-125 Pechora-2T surface-to-air missile system.
Baku was the first buyer of the land version of the Israeli long-range air defense system Barak 8. Azerbaijan reportedly ordered the Israeli-made SPYDER SR near-zone air defense system with the Iron Dome system.
More than a dozen of constantly deployed radar posts are in service with Azerbaijani military. R-18, n-19, n-37, n-40, 5N84A, 19ZH6, 22ZH6 altimeters and PRV-13, PRV-16-17, P-18, P-19, 5Н84А and 19Ж6. There are three 36D6-M radars and 80K6М radar in Azerbaijan supplied from Ukraine. Baku also bought Israeli-made mobile three-dimensional ELM-2288 AD-STAR and ELM-2106NG radars. The EL/M-2080 Green Pine early missile warning radar allegedly operates in Azerbaijan.
Baku is actively cooperating with Turkey and United States that are especially interested in data obtained by Azerbaijani radars on the Iranian, Russian borders and over the Caspian Sea.
Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh air defense capabilities
The comparison of Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces proves the Azerbaijani advantage.
Air defense systems of different classes and types are in service with Armenian military: long-range air defense systems S-300PS, medium-range air defense systems Buk M1-2, short-range air defense systems “Tor-M2KM”, portable air defense systems (MANPADS) “Igla” and “Willow”. Some outdated air defense systems such as S-75, S-125, “Kub” and “Osa”, ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” and ZSU-23-2 are also present. Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army’s air defense units also proceed air defense systems like: Osa-AKM and Strela-10, and numerous Igla MANPADS. The P-18, P-19 radars, and according to some sources at least one modern 36Д6 radar control the airspace over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The current escalation of a military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh unveiled that the air defense systems deployed in Armenia are not effective enough against Azerbaijani UAVs. On the other hand, they pose a real threat to manned military aircraft.
If Azerbaijan strengthens its air defense forces with international supplies from various countries, Armenian systems are Soviet and Russian-made.
In December 2015, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Armenian counterpart Seyran Ohanyan signed an agreement on the formation of a “United Air Defense System” in the Caucasus. According to this agreement, the Russian and Armenian established the unified leadership of air defense and airspace control facilities and real time exchange information.
In 2019, Armenia announced that it had acquired the Tor-M2MK air defense systems from Russia that were first demonstrated in 2013. In 2017 it was deployed by the Russian military.
It seems that in the on-going military conflict, the Armenian leadership has relied on a military partnership with Russia. However, Russian military that is stationed at the Gyumri and Erebuni bases carries out a defensive mission and has no obligation to protect the territories of disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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