Azerbaijan keeps Armenia’s airspace under full control - STUDY

Azerbaijan keeps Armenia’s airspace under full control - <span style="color: red;">STUDY
# 28 January 2013 14:37 (UTC +04:00)

Baku. Rashad Suleymanov – APA. The modernization of the Air Defense System is one of the spheres that the Azerbaijani government has attached great importance to within the framework of the Armed Forces development program since 2005.

According to APA’s study several important programs have been implemented in the past seven years for the modernization of Azerbaijan’s air defense system. Modern technical equipment and systems have been purchased.

It should be mentioned that during the Soviet times Azerbaijan’s air defense system was the major part of the South Caucasus air defense system. The most modern air defense systems of the USSR were deployed in the republic, those systems protected the southern borders of the former union from the direction of Iran and Turkey. The system included modern antiaircraft missile complexes of the time, fighter jets and since 1986 Gabala radar station.

Air Defense Troops were established under Azerbaijani Armed Forces after the country gained independence. The abovementioned troops were united under the same command as Military Air Forces.

Azerbaijan’s Air Defense System did not actively participate in the 1st Karabakh war. It is attributed to the limited use of military aviation by Armenia during the 1st Karabakh war. Antiaircraft weapons and portable antiaircraft missile complexes were majorly used in Karabakh war.


APA reports that alongside the modernization programs, Azerbaijan purchased new antiaircraft missile complexes from foreign countries.

In 2010 Azerbaijan purchased from Russia 2 divisions of S-300 complexes and 112 48N6U2/SA-10E missiles. The contract signed with Russia is reportedly worth more than $300 mln. They say one more S-300 division will be bought. S-300 missile complex was first demonstrated in the military parade in Baku in 2011. Referring to the pictures taken by the Google Earth, these complexes are protecting the airspace of the capital Baku.

“Barak-8” antiaircraft missile complexes (1 division – 6 throwing devices and 75 missiles), EL/M 2080 Green Pine missile defense radars were purchased within the framework of $1.6 bn-contract signed with Israel in 2011. “Barak-8” missiles purchased from Israel are mainly designed to be deployed on ships.

Azerbaijan is the first country in the CIS to purchase EL/M-2080 Green Pine. Green Pine reportedly operates in search, detection, tracking, and missile guidance modes simultaneously, capable of detecting targets at ranges of up to about 500 km, and is able to track more than 30 targets at speeds over 3,000 m/s.

During the reporting period Azerbaijan purchased a number of air defense systems from Ukraine. According to official information, Ukraine has recently sold several “Kolchuga-M” electronic reconnaissance stations to Azerbaijan.

Director of “Tetraedr” company of Belarus told APA in February, 2011, that Azerbaijan intended to purchase T-38 “Stilet” antiaircraft missile complexes. Moreover, various military websites report that Azerbaijani Army is going to purchase “Pantsir” antiaircraft missile complexes from Russia in the near future.

Current opportunities

According to APA, Azerbaijan, which reestablished its air defense system over the past 7 years, purchased Modern radio-technical surveillance systems, as well as antiaircraft missile complex from Ukraine, Belarus and Israel. Several programs were carried out towards modernization of the existing missile park.

In 2008-2011, two separate programs were carried out by the Belarusian Tetraedr company on modernization of S-125M Pechora and 9K33M3 "Osa-AKM" systems included in inventory of air defense forces. As a part of this program carried out with the participation of local “Azairtecservise” company, 27 pieces of S-125M complexes were improved to the level of S-125 – 2TM. Control system of the complexes were electronized, life expectancy extended to 15 years. As a result of the modernization, shooting distance of the missiles was doubled (reached 35 km) and the height increased by 7 km (reached 25 km). Now these missiles are capable of striking the targets moving 900 meter/second. This number was 560 m/second before the modernization. At the same time its accuracy of target destruction was increased.

Another antiaircraft missile complex improved to the level of 9K33-1T “Osa-1T” after the modernization by Tetraedr company in 2008-2009 differs for a number of distinct advantages from 9K33M3 “Osa-AKM”. Protection of the complex against interferences was improved, combat control automated. New drive system that allows striking targets moving 700 m/second on 7 km altitude and 12 km away was applied at the modernized “Osa-1T” complex.

In addition, the complex included OES-1T electro-optical system, infrared radar with a range of 8-12 microns, TV channel and laser range-finder to determine target distance when radar system is not working. The reliability of this complex was improved due to modernization of 80 percent devices. During the tests, “Osa-1T” proved its opportunities to destroy small-size targets, as well as targets established on Stealth technologies.

In general, the air defense of Azerbaijan is ensured by EL/M-2080 Green Pine in a large distance (200-500 km), S-200 "Vega" (29-40 km altitude, 250 km range, middle range S-300 PMU-2 Favorit (200 km range). For comparison, according to these indicators, Azerbaijan leaves Turkey behind for the level of Air Defense System.

Moreover, Azerbaijan’s Air Defense System has S-125-2TM Pechora, 9A33-1T “Osa”, Buk-M1-2, 9K35 “Strela-10” and 2K11 “Krug” systems used against close targets.

According to military experts, at present, the Azerbaijani Air Defense System is keeping under full control not only the airspace of the occupied territories, but also the territory of Armenia from north-west and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The recently-purchased radar facilities, especially TRML-4D radar delivered by the US enable to fully control the airspace over the Caspian Sea.

The airspace of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions occupied by the Armenian Armed Forces are controlled by the radar systems in Beylagan, Fuzuli, Agjabadi, Goygol region, Nakhchivan and Kurdamir. Each of the processes in this airspace and Armenia’s airspace is recorded.

Azerbaijan’s missile systems near the frontline are regarded as potential threats to the flights to Khojaly airport that Armenians are going to open and enable to directly prevent flights to this area.

Currently, Armenia’s air defense system includes S-300PT, S-300PS, S-300PT, “Krug”, S-125 “Neva”, “Osa” and “Strela-10” complexes, this country has no long-range air defense systems like those in Azerbaijan. Late in December Armenia’s Defense Ministry declared program on modernization of air defense systems. S-300 systems will be first modernized within this program.