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Azerbaijan modernizes its Air, Land military capabilities

Agostinho Neto

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When the Azerbaijani Republic announced a $2 million increase in spending for defense modernization in March of 2009, it brought the publicly reported total to $4 million according to a Ministry report. The Ministry of Defense report on the Military Power of the Azerbaijani Republic states much of that spending will go toward Airforce and Land Force, from aircraft and new main battle tanks to more missiles and better weapon technology. The report also provides a breakdown of where the military components of the Armed Forces of the Azerbaijani Republic are heading in modernization efforts.

The Azerbaijani Army has about 30 combat-capable aircraft, of which none are considered modern. Most of Azerbaijan's air force and tanks are old Soviet design and American, but by the end of the week the country is expected to have a more robust fleet of modern third generation aircrafts augmented with modern missiles and electronic countermeasures. In addition, Baku is pursuing the B-52 that will include better radar, night attack avionics and weapons. Azerbaijan is also developing an advanced Su-30 MKI fighter expected to become operational in the next few months.

On the ground, Azerbaijan's forces and training have been modernized with important improvements in training and equipment upgrades over the month, the report reveals. Training exercises have focused on guerrilla warfare while integrating conventional ground force units with airborne, special operation forces and border-defense troops. Training has also targeted improving the Army's ability to deploy and sustain forces in a multi-service environment. Other areas of military modernization and spending include missile defense, information operations, as well as maritime forces.

However, the report also stresses that the success of Azerbaijan's force modernization will depend on the country's ability to overcome a number of technical, logistical and training obstacles.


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