Azerbaijan Bought A Large Number Of Israeli Weapons And Well Prepared For The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

IAI Barak-8 Surface-to-Air Missiles.

Azerbaijan has a long track record of buying Israeli arms — to the extent that Iran in 2012 summoned the ambassador of Azerbaijan to voice its concerns.

And while the Israeli Defense Ministry does not publish details of sales by country, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in 2016 said his country had bought $5 billion in defense equipment from the Jewish state.

Azerbaijan is a known ally of Israel, supplying The Jewish state with about 40% of its oil needs. The country is a longtime customer of an assortment of Israeli defense companies, buying drones, missiles and other advanced weapon systems.

Israeli Barak-8 Air Defense Systems

The barak-8 system, which is known to the Israeli public primarily due to the cooperation between Israel and India, was apparently sold to Azerbaijan as well. However, while India possesses a maritime version of the system, Azerbaijan was sold an operational land-based version (12 launchers, 75 surface-to-air missiles). This means that the land system is also operational, apparently, in India. The source is a publication on Armenews.

Azerbaijani Army test fires Barak-8 SAM.

On 25 December 2016, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces successfully test-fired its newly developed Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missile, reports the defence-blog.

Azerbaijan has acquired the extended-range version of the Barak-8. At its annual parade in Baku on June 26, Azerbaijan revealed the acquisition of the Barak-8ER, which carries an extended range from the base model.

The Barak 8 is a surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and UAVs as well as combat jets out to a maximum range of 150km.

The Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, ELTA Systems, Rafael and other companies.

Azerbaijan ordered an operational land-based version – 12 launchers and 75 surface-to-air missiles. 

LORA Ballistic Missiles

Azerbaijan was the first and only confirmed country to which Israel delivered LORA missiles – in an arms deal that took place in 2018.

LORA (Long Range Attack) is a theater quasiballistic missile made by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It can be launched from a ship or by land. With an operational range of 400 km. (250 miles), it is accurate in hitting targets within ten meters, and striking within ten minutes after launch.

A video shared from the clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region show Azerbaijani forces using an Israeli “LORA” missile to shell a bridge in Armenia, according to Channel 12 News.

Israeli Rockets And Artillery

According to the report, Israel sold to Azerbaijan considerable amount of different types of weapons, including IMI’s EXTRA Guided rockets, Aerostar UAVs, Elbit Systems’ ATMOS self-propelled artillery system, Spike missiles (including NLOS-SSM), Elta’s EL / M-2080 and EL / M-2288 radar systems, IAI’s and Elbit’s UAVs, IAI’s LAHAT anti-tank missiles and “Shaldag” ships.

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Israeli Drones

The Harpy ‘Kamikaze’ UAV should be added to the list as well. It was put to operational use by Azerbaijan during the recent conflict with Armenia (according to media reports in Azerbaijan, six such drones were used). Apparently, this is all part of a deal signed in 2012.

A publication on apa.az claims that T-72 tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles used by the Azerbaijani Army were modernized by Israeli companies. Furthermore, Azerbaijan received an order to produce 30 “Aerostar”, Heron MKII Surveillance drones and 30 “Orbiter-2M” drones basing on Israel’s license.

Azerbaijan had deployed an Israeli-made defense system to shoot down a Russian-made missile that Armenia launched in the closing days of last fall’s war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Middle East Eye news website reported.

An unnamed official said Yerevan had launched a Russian Iskander missile “directly into the capital” of Azerbaijan days before signing a ceasefire with Baku in November, the outlet reported without indicating which country the official represented.

“But a missile defense system operated by the Azerbaijani military, an Israeli-made Barak-8 shot it down,” the Middle East Eye quoted them as saying.

“I think, among other things, it convinced the Armenian leadership to go for a ceasefire,” the source said, noting that “further use of these missiles could really escalate the situation on the ground.”

According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), over the past five years, Israel has been the top supplier of arms to Azerbaijan, with sales of more than $740 million, putting it ahead of Russia.

“Azerbaijan is an important country for us,” Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told AFP.

“We always try to be a good supplier even during times of tension… we have to make sure that we will honor the contracts we make with Azerbaijan,” he added.

“What they do is not our responsibility. They can fight with knives, they can fight with stones, people fight with many things.”

The ties between Israel and Azerbaijan date back to the break-up of the USSR in the early 1990s.

The two countries forged diplomatic and trade relations, as Israel sought to build bridges with Muslim countries and Azerbaijan was working to build new relationships beyond its traditional ties with Moscow.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is greeted by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev at Baku’s Zagulba Palace on December 13, 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO)

“Israel and Azerbaijan have strategic relations,” said Gallia Lindenstrauss, analyst at the Tel Aviv Institute for Strategic Studies.

“Israel imports quite a large amount of its oil from Azerbaijan and Israel exports to Azerbaijan weapons,” she said. “Azerbaijan is one of the largest clients of Israel’s defense industry.”

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