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Azerbaijan Air Force
Active 26 June 1918
Country  Azerbaijan
Size 7,900 personnel
220 aircraft and 76-? helicopters
5 airbases
Headquarters Baku
Engagements Nagorno-Karabakh War
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Altay Mehdiyev[1]
Insignia
Roundel Azerbaijan Air Force roundel.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Su-17, Su-24 Su-25, Mi-24
Bomber Su-24
Fighter MiG-21, MiG-29
Interceptor MiG-25, MiG-29
Reconnaissance MiG-25, Orbiter UAV, Aerostar UAV
Trainer L-29, L-39, YaK-52
Transport Il-76, An-12, An-24, Tu-134, Mi-2, Mi-6, Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-171

The Azerbaijani Air and Air Defence Force or commonly referred to as the Azerbaijani Air Force (Azeri: Azərbaycan hərbi hava qüvvələri) is the air force and air defence force of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.[2]

The roots of the current organization go back to June 26, 1918, when the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic bought its first military aircraft.

The presence of former Soviet air bases in Azerbaijan enabled the air component of the Azerbaijani armed forces to develop in the period of independence.

The Azerbaijani Air Force has over 220 aircraft and more than 75 helicopters.[citation needed] This exceeds the numbers allowed to Azerbaijan under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which specifies 100 aircraft and 50 helicopters.[1] There are USSR-made MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, Su-24 and Su-25, as well as fourth generation of MiG-29 purchased from Ukraine in 2006, Soviet-made Il-76. Azerbaijan is holding talks with China to purchase JF-17 Thunder aircraft.[3] The MiG-29 has been designated as the standard aircraft for the AzAF.[4]

Brinkster.net reported in October 2004 that the Azeri Air Force comprised a fighter squadron at Nasosnaya Air Base with МiG-25PDs and training variants, a bomber aviation regiment at Kyurdamir Air Base (Кюрдамир) with Su-17/24/25, MiG-21s, and L-29/39s, a transport aviation squadron at Ganja Airport with Il-76s(?), Аn-12/24, and Тu-134s, a helicopter squadron at Baku Kala Air Base with Мi-2/8/24s, two aircraft repair factories, and two air defence missile units. Other air bases include Dollyar Air Base (which Jane's Sentinel says is reported to be non operational),[1] Nakhichevan Airport in the Nakhichevan enclave, Sanqacal Air Base, and Sitalcay Air Base.

In June 2008, Azerbaijan acquired six Orbiter, six Aerostar and another three IAI Searcher unmanned aircraft produced by the Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. These aircraft were demonstrated for the first time during the military parade in Baku in 2008. According to Israeli newspapers, Azerbaijan is currently holding talks on purchasing Elbit Hermes 450 and Heron-TP unmanned aerial vehicles.[citation needed]

The Air Force retains in store L-29 and L-39 fighter training aircraft produced in Czech Republic and Ukraine. The Azerbaijan Border Guard and Voluntary Society of Defense, Patriotism and Sport have Yakovlev assault light aircraft.

On February 11, 2009 the commanding officer of Azerbaijan's Air Force, General Lieutenant Rail Rzayev was assassinated outside his home.[5] Rzayev had been reportedly negoitating closer ties with the United States regarding air force modernisation before his death, possibly including the acquisition of U.S. fighter aircraft.[6]

Azeri pilots are trained at the Azerbaijan Air Force School and then develop their skills further within their units. Azerbaijan has an experience exchange with Turkey, the United States, a number of other NATO countries, and Ukraine. Turkish Air Force School has a great role in the training of military pilots. The Azerbaijani pilots are also trained in Ukraine’s Pilot Training School.[7]

On March 3, 2010, an Azerbaijani Air Force Su-25 crashed in the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan.[8] The pilot, Famil Mammadli, was killed in the crash. An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the accident.

Azeri air bases (not all shown)

Contents

Modernization

Azerbaijani fighter jets during Baku military parade.

The United States is the most active participant in the modernization of the Azerbaijani Air Force. Azerbaijani airfields in Gala and Haji Zeynalabidin Tagiyev settlements were modernized with the US support in the framework of the Azerbaijan-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan. The special equipments were installed there to provide security of the flights. The starting command points, engineering control systems and engineering air force service were provided with the new buildings. Negotiation over the modernization of Kurdamir airfield is currently under way.

An advanced Flight Control System has been installed at Dollyar Air Base with support from the United States.

Since September 2008, Turkey has helped to modernise the Air Force central headquarters. According to the Turkish-Azeri agreement, a NATO standard central command management center will be installed there. A great number of projects such as joint manufacture of attack helicopters and unmanned aircraft will be implemented with Turkey in the near future.

Air Defence Force

Mi-24s of the Azerbaijani Helicopter fleet.

The Air Defence Force is a component of the Air and Air Defence Force of Azerbaijan.[1] There are some installations of the Cold War era left by the Soviets in 1990.

The Gabala OTH Radar in Azerbaijan is operated by the Russian Space Forces. The radar station has a range of up to 6,000 kilometres (3,728 mi), and was designed to detect missile launches as far as from the Indian Ocean. It is not known whether Russia shares any of the radar's data with Azerbaijan.

The U.S. also provided Azerbaijani military with the latest radar technology in 2006. In the same year, plans were announced for the U.S. to modernize one radar station near the Iranian border at Lerik and another near the border with Georgia at Agstafa. Joint work has also commenced on two radar stations on the Russia-Azerbaijani border and Iran-Azerbaijani border to monitor Caspian Sea traffic.[9]

Azerbaijan has also a number of missile systems covering Azeri airspace. The NATO designated SA-2 Guideline (original name S-75 Dvina) has been installed in and around Baku and additional installations are near the border with Iran and Dagestan. Some are installed to defend against Armenian aircraft. In terms of numbers, the IISS reported in 2002 that Azerbaijan had 100 S-75 Dvina, S-125 Neva/Pechora, and S-200 systems.[10] Among them are the medium range SA-4, for short range SA-8 and the SA-13 mobile SAM vehicles. Azerbaijan also has many lighter AA guns and shoulder launched SAMs.[citation needed]

Industry

Azerbaijani military companies as IGLIM SPE and RPE IGLIM also is developing its own aircraft industry both for civilian and for military purposes in Azerbaijan.[11] The Azerbaijan Defense Industry is cooperating with Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and Czech companies.[12]

Ukraine is the main aircraft provider state for Azerbaijan. 125 million-dollar agreement was signed with Ukraine in 2005 and this country provides Azerbaijan with fourth generation MIG-29 aircraft.

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Aircraft inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Active[13] Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21  Soviet Union Fighter MiG-21 21
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25  Soviet Union Interceptor/Reconnaissance MiG-25 38
JF-17 Thunder  China/ Pakistan Fighter JF-17 26 (reportedly on order, no confirmation)
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29  Ukraine  Russia Multirole fighter MiG-29 49 [7]
Ground-Attack Aircraft
Sukhoi Su-17  Soviet Union Fighter-bomber Su-17 4
Sukhoi Su-24  Soviet Union Attack aircraft Su-24 19. Serviceability believed to be poor.[1]
Sukhoi Su-25  Russia  Georgia Close air support aircraft Su-25 28
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-29 Delfín  Czechoslovakia Military trainer aircraft L-29 24[14]
Aero L-39 Albatros  Czechoslovakia Military trainer aircraft L-39 12[14]
Yakovlev Yak-52  Romania Military trainer aircraft YaK-52 12
Attack Helicopters
Mil Mi-24  Soviet Union/ Ukraine Attack helicopter Mi-24 49
Transport and Utility Helicopters
Mil Mi-2  Soviet Union Light armored transport helicopter Mi-2  ?
UH-1 Iroquois  United States Light armored transport helicopter UH-1 Iroquois 32
Mil Mi-6  Soviet Union Heavy transport helicopter Mi-6 4
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union Gunship/transport helicopter Mi-8 13-?
Mil Mi-17  Russia Transport helicopter Mi-17 4
Mil Mi-171  Russia Gunship/transport helicopter Mi-171 6
Transport Aircraft
Ilyushin Il-76  Soviet Union Strategic airlifter Il-76 3
Antonov An-12  Soviet Union Military transport aircraft An-12 1
Antonov An-24  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-24 1
Tupolev Tu-134  Soviet Union Airliner Tu-134A 1
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Orbiter  Israel UAV Orbiter 6
Aerostar  Israel UAV Aerostar 6
IAI Searcher  Israel UAV Searcher 3

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Jane's Sentinel Security Assessments - Russia and the CIS: Air Force, dated 18 June 2009
  2. ^ Azeri translation is for Azeri Air Force, not Air and Air Defence Force.
  3. ^ China supplies FC-1 multipurpose fighters to Azerbaijan
  4. ^ Azerbaijan shows 4th generation MiG-29 multirole fighter jets.
  5. ^ New York Times, Head of Azerbaijan's Air Force Shot Dead, February 11, 2009
  6. ^ Eurasia Critic, Only Bridge Between West and Caspian Falling Apart
  7. ^ a b Azerbaijan’s military aviation opportunities
  8. ^ Military aircraft crashed in Azerbaijan
  9. ^ Azerbaijan & U.S. joint installations and U.S. radars in Azerbaijan
  10. ^ IISS Military Balance 2002, via Brinkster.net
  11. ^ Azerbaijan to manufacture its own aircraft and helicopters
  12. ^ Azerbaijan to manufacture its own aircraft and helicopters
  13. ^ Azerbaijani military aviation OrBat
  14. ^ a b Aviation Week and Space Technology 2009 Sourcebook Azerbaijan

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