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Azerbaijan Puts Cutting-Edge Locally Made Arms on Display at IDEX-2021

By Mushvig Mehdiyev February 22, 2021

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Ministry of Defense Industry of Azerbaijan launched serial production of Iti Govan strike drones during the six-week-long war with Armenia in 2020 / Courtesy

Azerbaijan sent last week a delegation from the country's Ministry of Defense Industry to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for IDEX-2021 where it is showcasing locally-made arms at the annual international defense exhibition.

A total of 106 Azerbaijani-made arms are on display in Abu Dhabi, including various types of small arms and short-range combat vehicles, mortars, rifles, grenades, unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition of various calibers and purposes over the next four days.

In addition to arms demonstration, top officials from the ministry are holding meetings with state and government officials of the UAE and heads of official delegations of the participating countries. On February 21, Minister Madat Guliyev met with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of UAE. The meeting focused on discussions on the ways to enhance relations between the UAE and Azerbaijan in multiple fields and sectors for improving the friendly ties between the two countries and peoples.

This year’s International Defense Exhibition, more widely known as IDEX-2021, runs from February 21 until February 25. Around 900 defense companies from 59 countries, including Azerbaijan, the USA, Russia, China, Turkey, France, Poland, Brazil, Switzerland, the UAE, Pakistan, Switzerland, are attending the arms fair. IDEX is the only international defense exhibition and conference in the Middle East and North Africa region showcasing the latest defense technology in land, sea, and air sectors. The event also highlights new opportunities for the participating countries to establish and strengthen relationships with government departments, businesses, and armed forces throughout the region.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Industry owns a robust production network that includes 23 different manufacturing units stationed across Azerbaijan, including “IGLIM”, “ARAZ”, “AZON”, “DALGA”, and “ALOV.” Domestic production portfolio includes 1,200 arms of various segments, such as Istiglal and Mubariz-12.7 anti-materiel rifles, YIRTIJI-7.62, Yalguzag, and Shimshak sniper rifles, UP-7.62 and HP-7.6v submachine guns – all of which are in line with NATO standards.

Arms displayed by Azerbaijan included Yalguzag sniper rifles of 7.62-mm caliber, a special-purpose machine gun of 7.62-mm caliber, an automatic grenade launcher of 30-mm caliber, a manual grenade launcher of 40-mm caliber, as well as the hand grenade of F-1 type and mines of both M-6 and M-12 types.

Azerbaijan manufactures also the Gurza armored patrol car and Tufan mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, the TR-107 and TRB-107 ground-to-ground missiles, new-generation Zarba, and Iti Govan attack UAVs – known as the “kamikaze drone” of Azerbaijan, all of which are considered to be state-of-the-art systems. At the IDEF-2019 fair, the ministry showcased an all-new domestically made aircraft bomb QFAB-250 LG created on the basis of a project that was jointly developed by its Scientific Research Institute and the Turkish company ASELSAN.

Domestically manufactured weapons have been widely deployed by the Azerbaijani forces during the last year’s 44-day-long war – from September 27 through November 10 – with Armenia in the Karabakh region, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. The Zarba and Iti Govan drones destroyed dozens of military equipment of the Armenian army throughout the war. The Azerbaijani army used the Istiglal and Mubariz anti-materiel rifles, as well, to counter the attacks and breach the defense of the Armenian forces.

“Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare,” the Washington Post wrote shortly after the end of the Armenia-Azerbaijan war in November.

The 44-day war in the Karabakh region ended in Azerbaijan’s victory after the country’s forces liberated over 300 settlements, including five major cities in the region from Armenia's nearly 30-year-long illegal occupation. Armenia returned three more districts to Azerbaijan in non-combat conditions by December 1 last year as part of the tripartite ceasefire statement signed between these two countries and Russia on November 9.

In 2019, Azerbaijan’s domestic arms-industry manufactured defense products worth more than $154 million or nearly $10 million more than in 2018. In the 2021 military strength rankings compiled by Global Firepower, Azerbaijan ranks 64 among 139 countries, being the strongest military in the South Caucasus region. The region’s Georgia and Armenia rank 92 and 100, respectively.