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Minister: Azerbaijan to begin producing UAVs with both reconnaissance and assault capabilities - INTERVIEW


Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Industry Yavar Jamalov’s interview with APA’s Turkey correspondent

 

- Russia in its arms exports portfolio has fixed order contracts worth $55 to 60 billion. Azerbaijan is developing from a weapon importing country into a weapons exporting country. If not secret, please tell us about Azerbaijan’s arms exports portfolio...

 

- As you know, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Industry was established 12 years ago. Since its establishment, with the support and under the guidance of the head of state, the modern technologies of the world’s most leading companies have been brought to Azerbaijan in order for the country to begin the production of arms and ammunition that correspond to modern international standards.

 

Today, the range of our products has reached nearly 1,200. Apart from the country’s Defense Ministry, Interior Troops, Border Troops, and other bodies, we have begun to export arms to approximately 10 countries around the world. The total amount of the contracts signed so far amounts to nearly $101 million, of which around $57 million are contracts in force, a number of countries have ensured that they will buy our weapons. The certificates of the remaining $44 million arms and ammunition will be available in the coming days. The main essence of our participation in international exhibitions is to increase our export opportunities. We already have participated in tenders in Turkey. The tender that we won recently is worth approximately $9 million. The process is ongoing. We’re trying to take part in tenders in Turkey and other countries. This allows us to increase our export opportunities. We’re working on the issue of exports.

 

- Which countries is Azerbaijan exporting weapons on a stable basis?

 

- In general, we are exporting weapons to some American, African and European companies. I don’t want to name specific countries, I’m talking about continents in general.

 

- One of the achievements of Azerbaijan's defense industry in recent years is the launch of design and production of unmanned aerial vehicles. What would you say about the work done in this area?

 

- We have already achieved good results in this area. Along with reconnaissance UAVs, we have started the production of next-general UAVs capable of destroying the enemy’s military equipment and manpower. We are currently working on the last project and will soon begin the production of drones with cumulative warhead, which will allow us to conduct reconnaissance flights and destroy an enemy’s shelter, equipment and manpower at any time.

 

- When will they be included in the army’s armament? 

 

- We have already unveiled Zarba unmanned aerial vehicles capable of conducting reconnaissance flights and destroying the enemy’s manpower and light military vehicles. We will launch the production of drones with cumulative warhead within three or four months.

 

-While looking at Russia's arms sales statistics in the past, we could see that Azerbaijan was one of the most important arms importers. According to you, Azerbaijan, once being an arms importer, has gradually turned into an arms exporter.

 

- First of all, we execute the state order program which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on the basis of the orders of the Defense Ministry, Internal troops, Border Troops and other bodies. After meeting domestic demands, we are working on exports.

 

 - Today you met with Turkey’s national defense minister. We got information that Azerbaijan’s Defense Industry Ministry will sign a contact with ASELSAN…

 

- We have already agreed on implementation of four projects with ASELSAN. Protocols on the agreements will probably be signed today.

 

- Turkey is seeking for new weapon exporters in recent years. For example, they are complaining about NATO’s failure to assist them in strengthening the air defense system. What cooperation agreements have Turkey and Azerbaijan reached in this field? 

 

- As you know, a High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council functions between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Besides, Azerbaijani and Turkish power structures are holding technical dialogue sessions. Meetings of both the High Level Cooperation Council and military-technical cooperation dialogue are attended by defense industry representatives. The meeting discussed the current situation and prospects. In the case of a delay on one of the two sides, the situation is analyzed and the causes are eliminated as soon as possible. Since 2009, we have been manufacturing five types of pistols. We signed a protocol with ASELSAN for joint manufacture of night vision scopes. Today, more protocols will be signed for the implementation of the four projects. Moreover, we produce automatic rifles with the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation. In total, we have purchased $130 raw materials and finished products from Turkey’s relevant companies. This is indicative of high-level relations between the two fraternal countries.

 

-These relations between the two fraternal countries worry Armenia more than any other country. They name this cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan “destructive work”.

 

- The joint exercise with Turkey is a message to Armenia. I’m going to bring an example which might sound a bit rude. They ask a dog why it is barking. It says that it is frightening. Asked why it shakes its tail, it says that it’s scared. Now, Armenia is in the same position.

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