The text below is based on the overview published by oleggranovsky.livejournal.com. It dates back to 2016, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Baku back in December 2016.
Under the first presidents of Azerbaijan, Ayaz Mutalibov (1990-1992), Isa Gambar (acting in 1992) and Heydar Aliyev (1993-2003), there was no information about the supply of Israeli weapons to Azerbaijan. Since 2003, the president of Azerbaijan is Ilham Aliyev (the son of Heydar Aliyev), and it was during this period that Israeli military exports to this country fell. Moreover, as far as is now known, the first contract was signed in 2005 – with the Israeli Military Industry (IMI) for the supply of the LYNX MLRS.
The first evidence of the presence of Israeli weapons in Azerbaijan appeared in 2008.
At the military parade in Baku on June 26th, 2008, personnel from the Azerbaijani special forces were seen with the Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle, alongside the tactical reconnaissance UAVs Orbiter-2M and Aerostar of Aeronautics were shown. In the same year, publications appeared on the supply of LYNX MLRS and missiles to them, UAVs of the above types and a number of other systems to Azerbaijan (by the way, not everything was later confirmed). And in early 2012, information appeared about a truly huge deal. Then it was published that in 2011 a contract was signed for 1.6 billion dollars between the “Israel Aviation Industry” (IAI) and an unnamed Asian country. Just a month later, on February 26th, 2012, the American newspaper The Washington Post reported that it was about Azerbaijan (which was later confirmed). Until now, the details of this contract are not known. What is confirmed – within its framework, Azerbaijan was supplied with the Barak-8 air defense system and a significant number of UAVs of various types.
On December 13th, 2016, during the already mentioned visit of Netanyahu to Baku, Ilham Aliyev, among other things, said that Azerbaijan had concluded various long-term agreements with Israel for the purchase of weapons and other defense products totaling $5 billion. We are talking about all contracts concluded so far, including those already completed. Almost 4 years have passed since then, respectively, there were new contracts, but their volume was not reported.
So, what is known about Israeli supplies to Azerbaijan in terms of types of weapons and their quantity?
UAVs, including loitering munitions
UAVs clearly rank first among Israeli military supplies to Azerbaijan. If in a number of categories, Israeli imports play a significant share in the armament of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces (anti-tank systems, 120-mm mortars, ballistic missiles and MLRS, patrol boats and ships, armored vehicles), in others it is clearly secondary (self-propelled guns, small arms), in others it is absent at all (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, manned aircraft), the share of Israeli imports in UAVs was not just in first place: for almost 12 years (from 2008 to summer 2020), the Azerbaijani Armed Forces were fully equipped with Israeli UAVs (including loitering weapons ). And only a few months ago the situation changed: Azerbaijan received from Turkey armed Bayraktar TB2 UAVs and STM Kargu attack multicopters.
It is also interesting that Azerbaijan cooperates simultaneously with all large and a number of small Israeli UAV manufacturers. The first in 2007 was Aeronautics (the third largest manufacturer, from 02.09.19 owned by Rafael), in 2008 the first contract was signed with Elbit (the second manufacturer), and as part of the 2011 deal it started cooperation with IAI (1st manufacturer). And there were also contracts with BlueBird Aero Systems and EMIT Aviation (the latter shuttered in 2010).
Cooperation with Aeronautics was not limited to the purchase of finished products. At the Azad Systems enterprise (AZAD Sistemlər; according to a number of sources, this is a joint venture of the Azerbaijani production association “Sharg” and Aeronautics) in the Buku region, licensed production of 2 types of Aeronautics UAVs is carried out: Aerostar (local name “Shahin”) and Orbiter 2M (“Garangush” , ie “Swallow”). In May 2011, Minister of Defense Industry Yaver Jamalov said that by the end of 2011 it is planned to produce 60 UAVs of these types, the level of localization should be 30%. According to other sources, full-scale production began only in 2013. Most likely, the production of Aerostar was an assembly from ready-made kits, but the release of Orbiter 2M was really localized to a large extent. In 2017, the production of loitering ammunition Orbiter-1K (“Zarba-K”, ie “Udar-K”) was also launched.
It should be noted that UAVs are almost always supplied as systems, each of which includes one or another number of UAVs themselves. In the case of Azerbaijan, UAVs are widely spoken about, and how many systems there are for certain devices is not indicated.
So, what types of UAVs and loitering ammunition did Azerbaijan buy in Israel?
- Aeronautics Aerostar – according to SIPRI, the first 4 were purchased in 2007 and delivered in 2008. Further, about 10 were purchased in 2010, delivered in 2011-2012, with partial production in Azerbaijan. Those. total 14. According to Wikipedia, there are now 3 in the SV, 4 in the Air Force.
- Aeronautics Orbiter-1K – according to SIPRI at least 100 were ordered in 2016 (contract amount – $ 20 million), about 80 were delivered in 2016-2019. (in 2017, the implementation of this contract was suspended, but after checks it was resumed). Incl. collected or produced in Azerbaijan.
- Aeronautics Orbiter-2M – produced in Azerbaijan, and at least 40 of them.
- Aeronautics Orbiter-3 – according to SIPRI, about 10 were ordered in 2016, all delivered in 2016-2017.
- Elbit Hermes 450 – according to SIPRI about 10 purchased in 2008 and delivered in 2011-2013. In some sources, there is a larger figure – 15.
- Elbit Hermes 900 – according to SIPRI, about 2 were purchased in 2017 and delivered in 2017-2018. In some sources, there is a much larger figure – 15.
- Elbit SkyStriker – according to SIPRI, about 100 were purchased in 2016, delivered in 2018.They were first seen in Azerbaijan on January 10th, 2019, when they were demonstrated to Ilham Aliyev.
- IAI Heron-1 – according to SIPRI 5 purchased in 2011 and delivered in 2013. According to other sources, Azerbaijan had 15 Heron in 2015. Perhaps 5 systems with 15 UAVs were meant. They are in service with the Azerbaijan Air Force.
- IAI Harop – according to SIPRI about 50 purchased in 2015, delivered in 2015-2016. It has been known about their use against Armenia since April 2016. They are launched from mobile launchers for 9 containers. The number 50 is too small, perhaps it was only about the first batch, and the total number of these devices delivered is most likely measured in hundreds.
- BlueBird Aero Systems ThunderB – there were no reports of the delivery of this device to Azerbaijan, but on 04/02/16 this one was captured in Nagorno-Karabakh, see on bmpd.
- EMIT Aviation Sparrow – there was no information about the delivery of this device to Azerbaijan, but on October 25th, 2020, this one was shot down in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The presence of 2 more UAVs was reported, but without unequivocal confirmation (photos from parades and exhibitions in Azerbaijan or wreckage from the Armenian side). Taking into account the elapsed time, most likely this information is erroneous and the UAV data were not supplied to Azerbaijan.
- IAI Heron-TP – the presence of these UAVs in Azerbaijan was reported by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), headquartered in London (see on LiveJournal “dambiev writes”). Wikipedia in Russian says that “Azerbaijan’s Air Force – as of 2016, there were 15 units in service.” However, other sources do not confirm this. Possibly confused with Heron-1.
- IAI Searcher-2 – according to SIPRI 5 purchased in 2011 and delivered in 2013.According to other sources, 10 were purchased, at least 5 were preserved for 2020 (but perhaps they meant 5 systems with 10 UAVs, although usually such a system is completed with 3-4 devices). IISS Searcher-2 does not. Wikipedia has Searcher-2 in English and Russian, but not in Hebrew. So this UAV is most likely confused with the outwardly similar Aerostar.
But that’s not all. There are 2 more devices that are related to Israel.
- Elbit Hermer 200 – there is no such device on the Elbit website. The name itself is declared by Iran. It is assumed that this is the UAV of the “Elbit” company, created specifically for Azerbaijan and not supplied to other customers. In 2011, the Armenians shot down one over Nagorno-Karabakh, and in 2014 – Iran over their territory. See the articles “In Tehran, the IRGC organized an exhibition of UAVs captured and shot down by the Iranians” (LJ imp-navigator) and “An exhibition of unmanned aerial vehicles of the Azerbaijani army shot down by Armenian air defense systems” (LJ “dambiev writes”).
- At the military airfield of Azerbaijan in Yevlakh, as many as 61 An-2 aircraft were identified. As far as we know, they are using it in unmanned mode to identify the Armenian air defense system in Karabakh. According to some sources, they have been turned into full-fledged UAVs. Who helped Azerbaijan in this project is not known, how the options are called Israel and Turkey. See the article “Azerbaijani An-2 aircraft at the military airfield in Yevlakh” (LJ “dambiev writes”).
Among those listed above, Orbiter-1K, SkyStriker and Harop are loitering munitions. Orbiter-1K and SkyStriker are launched from catapults (made in the form of wheeled trailers or mounted on the roofs of vehicles and BA), for Harop there is a specialized launcher on a truck for 9 TPK. The Orbiter-1K and SkyStriker are electrically powered and virtually silent. Harop has a piston engine, which creates a strong unmasking noise when approaching the target, however, this makes it possible for the crews to scatter and take cover, but there is still no time to evacuate the equipment.
These devices have the following characteristics:
- Orbiter-1K – weight 13 kg, 3-kg fragmentation warhead, stay in the air up to 2.5 hours, range up to 100 km (pdf on the company’s website; Wikipedia article);
- SkyStriker – weight 35 kg, 5-kg or 10-kg warheads, stay in the air 2 hours (from 5-kg warheads) or 1 hour (from 10-kg warheads), range up to 40 km (pdf on the company’s website; article Wikipedia);
- Harop – weight 135 kg, 16-kg or 23-kg warheads, stay in the air up to 9 hours (from 16-kg warheads) or 6 hours (from 23-kg warheads), range up to 200 km (via communication) or up to 1,000 km (by fuel); photos of unexploded 16-kg warhead published: manufactured by “Raphael”, real weight 15.2 kg, contains 5.7 kg of explosive PX139 (Wikipedia article).
The well-known scandal of 2017 is associated with the supply of Orbiter-1K loitering ammunition to Azerbaijan.When demonstrating these devices in Azerbaijan, Aeronautics operators were required to use them for real Armenian targets. They refused, despite pressure from their own leadership. Further, the launches were allegedly carried out by the leaders of the Israeli delegation themselves, but due to the lack of practical experience they did not hit the target. Aeronautics immediately denied these allegations. The Israeli Defense Ministry began checking and in August 2017 temporarily blocked the execution of the contract. As far as is known, the check showed that no launches by Israeli personnel against real Armenian targets were carried out, after which the contract was released in 2018.
Small arms and grenade launchers
It was already mentioned above about the Tavor TAR-21 rifles produced by the Israeli Arms Industry (IWI). There were reports that Azerbaijan will purchase large quantities of these rifles and even set up their serial production. However, in 2010, preference was given to licensed production of AK-74M (“Khazri” in Azerbaijan; production began in 2011, more than 100,000 units were produced on 15.05.19). TAR-21 (as well as “Tavor” X95) remained in the army special forces, as well as in the police and marines. The special forces also use the Uzi submachine guns. There is also information about the “Negev” light machine guns, and it is called the “standard army light machine gun”.
As for the RPGs, it was reported that there are B-300 and Shipon manufactured by IMI in Azerbaijan.
- Spike-LR for the needs of SV (installed on Plasan Sand Cat armored vehicles). The number of complexes is unclear, as for missiles, according to SIPRI, the first 100 were purchased in 2008 and received in 2009-2010. Another 250 – purchased in 2015 and received in 2016.
- Spike-ER – for patrol boats Shaldag Mk V and anti-tank systems based on Plasan Sand Cat.
- Spike-NLOS – for OPV-62 patrol ships (each ship carries 20 such missiles: 8 launchers and 12 spare). Since 2018, they have been installed on helicopters. It is possible that these missiles are also used in the land version. According to SIPRI, 250 missiles were purchased in 2013 and received in 2014-2018. Most likely, many more of these missiles were actually purchased.
- LAHAT – on Mi-17 helicopters. According to SIPRI, about 100 missiles were purchased in 2013 and received in 2015-2016. The helicopters carry 2×4 LAHAT launchers and MOSP-3000D EO detection and guidance station. Azerbaijan became the first well-known foreign customer of the LAHAT helicopter complex (SkyBow).
- T-72 – Azerbaijan has a significant number of T-72 tanks, some sources talk about 325 vehicles, others about 470. Some of them have been upgraded under the Aslan program (aka SIM-2) with the support of the Elbit company. The tanks received reactive armor, a modern fire control system, navigation system and other electronics.
- T-55 – Azerbaijan has 95 tanks of this type, they are considered obsolete and are in storage. It was reported about plans to convert some or even all of these vehicles into auxiliary armored vehicles with the support of Israeli firms, and even into heavy armored personnel carriers of the type of Israeli “Akhzarit”.
- BMP-2 – Azerbaijan has 30-33 such BMPs in service, some more are in storage (according to some reports, the number of BMP-2 in storage is about 220). It was reported that these machines (in service) were upgraded to the level of BMP-2M with the support of the Elbit company.
- 230 BA Plasan Sand Cat (“Caracal”; on the chassis of a commercial Ford F550 pickup truck). Incl. 110 were ordered in 2015 and delivered in 2016-2018, 10 of them – with the Spike-LR ATGM (as part of the Samson MLS turret from Raphael). In 2017, 10 were ordered and received in 2018 with a 120-mm Spear Mk2 mortar. Part of Sand Cat is equipped with electro-optics systems for long-range observation, day and night. Others have Raphael Mini Samson turrets with 12.7mm NSVT machine guns. There is also a self-propelled ATGM with Spike-ER missiles and a medical evacuation option.
- 90-150 armored jeeps AIL Storm (M-242 “Sufa-2”). The first 10 were ordered in 2008 and delivered in 2009-2010.
- 80-110 BA based on the AIL Abir commander (M-462 “Abir”).
Artillery, ballistic missiles and MLRS
- LORA – 4 launchers and 50 missiles. SIPRI ordered 2017 and received 2018 See separate article.
- MLRS Lynx – 30 launchers, based on KamAZ-6350 (8×8). Each carries 2 containers with missiles of one of 3 types: 122-mm Grad (Turkish T-122 missiles, 20 missiles in a container), 160-mm LAR-160 (adjustable AccuLAR, 13 missiles) or 306-mm Extra (4 rockets). The last 2 types are made by IMI. In Azerbaijan, these 3 options are named Dolu-1, Leysan and Shimsek. According to SIPRI, the first 6 launchers and 50 Extra missiles were purchased in 2005 and received in 2006 (PU) and 2008-2009 (missiles). Most likely, LAR-160s were also purchased in 2005.
- 155-mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers ATMOS-2000 – 5 were ordered in 2008, received in 2010 (most likely, in reality, we are talking about ATMOS M46, a self-propelled version of the 130-mm M-46 cannon; Azerbaijan has at least 36 such guns, as well as various 152-mm cannons, howitzers and self-propelled guns, the caliber 155 mm is not standard for this country).
- 120mm self-propelled mortars Cardom – 50 (on the Mercedes chassis). SIPRI says about 10 (ordered in 2008, received in 2010-2011), but most likely it was only the first batch.
- Spear Mk2 – 47 120-mm self-propelled mortars (based on Plasan Sand Cat, also installed on BTR-70). See separate article. As with Cardom, SIPRI only talks about 10 (ordered in 2017, received in 2018), apparently the first batch.
Air defense radar and air defense system
For a long time, various sources reported about Azerbaijan’s ordering 1-2 EL / M-2080 Green Pine radars (ie missile defense radars used in the Hetz system). This information has not been confirmed, for example SIPRI has already removed it from its database. There is also no confirmation of the purchase of the SPYDER-SR air defense system and the Iron Dome (they wrote about Azerbaijan’s intention to buy LCD in 2016, see a separate article).
- 2 EL / M-2288 AD-STAR – ordered in 2014, received in 2016 air traffic control and early warning radars for air defense. Has 2 versions, stationary long-range EL / M-2288ER and mobile medium-range EL / M-2288MR. There is no information what version Azerbaijan bought.
- EL / M-2106NG – short-range air defense radar, how much was purchased – it was not reported.
- EL / M-2084 MMR is a universal radar for air defense missions, targeting enemy artillery batteries and adjusting their own artillery fire. For example, in the IDF they are used both in the artillery troops and in the air defense / missile defense batteries “Iron Dome” and “Sling of David”. There are reports that Azerbaijan has bought at least 4 such radars.
- SAM “Barak-8” (Barak-LR) – 1 division with radar EL / M-2084, 9 towed TLUs for 8 missiles each, mobile control point Part of the 2011 deal.On SIPRI received in 2016, including about 40 Barak-8 and Barak-8ER missiles. Other sources talk about the purchase of 75 missiles of both types.
Ships and boats
In 2013, Azerbaijan signed a contract with Israel Shipyards for the construction of patrol ships and boats for the Azerbaijani Navy. The boats gathered in the Center for Construction and Repair of Vessels of the Coast Guard of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan in the Baku settlement of Turkan.
- 6 border patrol boats Shaldag Mk V, assembled in 2014-2015. Numbers from S-301 to S-306 are carried.
- 6 border patrol ships OPV-62 (based on the “Saar-4.5” hull), assembled in 2015-2019. Numbers S-201 to S-206 are carried. See the article on bmpd.
- 2 corvettes “Saar-72” – there were reports of Azerbaijan’s intention to buy 2 such ships, it was even stated that the construction of the first one would start in 2016, but there is still no confirmation of this. About “Saar-72” see a separate article.
The supply of ships also means the supply of weapons systems and equipment for them:
- each OPV-62 carries a Rafael MLS NLOS launcher for Rafael Spike-NLOS missiles, a 23-mm Rafael Typhoon artillery unit and two 12.7-mm Rafael Mini Typhoon missiles, an Elta EL / M-2228X SGRS radar, a Rafael Toplite EO fire detection and control system and a complex Rafael Wizard jamming;
- each Shaldag Mk V carries a Rafael Typhoon MLS ER launcher for Rafael Spike-ER missiles, a 23 mm Rafael Typhoon gun and two 12.7 mm Rafael Mini Typhoon, a Rafael Toplite EO system.
In 2012, it was reported that the already mentioned 2011 deal also included the Gabriel-5 anti-ship missile complex. There is still no confirmation of this, Finland became the first known buyer of this rocket.
The Israeli military industry, as you know, primarily sells not platforms, but various systems and services. Electrical optics and night vision devices, communications and electronic reconnaissance equipment, etc. Some of these systems are listed above in connection with the modernization of armored vehicles (T-72 and BMP-2), helicopters (Mi-17), supply of ships and boats. Elbit Long View CR EO systems for artillery spotters, simulators for supplied ATGMs were noticed in Azerbaijan. Most likely there is a lot of other things, but there is no information on this.
It was also reported that Czech weapons were also supplied to Azerbaijan through Israel.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Weapons Of Karabakh War: Israel’s LYNX Multi-Purpose MLRS
- In Numbers: Azerbaijani Claims About Armenian Losses In Nagorno-Karabakh War