Azeri sources have recently confirmed to ES&D that a number of ROKETSAN-built SOM-B1 ALCMs have been acquired. While a sale of JF-17 “Thunder” to Azerbaijan has not been realized – this rumor exists since 2016 – the only possible Azeri platforms in which SOM could be integrated are the MiG-29 and Su-25, of which the AzAF operates one squadron each at Nasosnaya and Kurdamir.
The SOM missile is currently tested for 300 km (160 nm) range. It already destroyed a 10 m (33 ft) precision goal successfully and demonstrated around 5 m (16 ft) accuracy in live fire. The B1-version is IR-guided in the terminal phase.
Having proven that Turkey has sufficient authority over the SOM’s subsystems – which are based on a Safran design – to export it, Turkey is now obviously positioned to export the SOM for use on non-Western fighters as well. Azerbaijan in itself also is a notable case, because it remains a daily fighting nation along the LoC at the Karabakh-frontline.
And it normally is a big buyer of Russian and Israeli armaments, while no traditional partner to Western Europe or the USA. The latest AzAF-acquisition is the Belorussian jammer pod “Talisman.”
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