December 04
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Azerbaijan is the third largest importer of Israeli weapons after India and Vietnam. According to various sources, Jerusalem delivered arms to Baku worth at least $ 140 million in 2017, Novaya Gazeta reported.

From rockets to tanks

The Azerbaijani Army is armed with the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile systems which are designed to crush planes of the opponent as well as destroy the missiles launched from from the sea and land.  Barak 8 which has a length of about 4.5 meters, was designed to counter a wide variety of air-borne threats, such as; anti-ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs drones and supersonic missiles.

Israel's largest privately-owned Elbit Systems has upgraded several dozens of Azerbaijani T-72 tanks, installing new firefighting systems and modern armor.

The same Israeli company supplies Baku with computerized 120 mm recoil mortars CARDOM (Computerized Autonomous Recoil Rapid Deployed Outrange Mortar). The mortar has a modern firing control system, navigation block and other functions.

The Azerbaijani army also received an Israeli EL/M-2080 'Green Pine' ground-based missile-defense radar, produced by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. Green Pine reportedly operates in search, detection, tracking, and missile guidance modes simultaneously, capable of detecting targets.A certain number of such radar stations have been installed on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. Israel delivered to Azerbaijan portable remote mine neutralization systems POMINS-2.

In the arsenal of the Azerbaijani military officers there are Israeli small-sized Micro-uzi submachine guns, IWI Tavor bullpup assault rifle and the manual Negev machine gun which is issued by Israel Military Industries.

The Azerbaijani arsenal is also equipped with B-300 reusable man-portable anti-tank weapon system, which can be carried and operated by a single operator and is effective to approximately 400 meters as well as with Israeli Spike missile systems. In 2016, the British Military Balance reported that five Atmos 2000 155mm self-propelled artillery system produced by Israel, were installed in Azerbaijan.

In the mid-2000s, Azerbaijan purchased a certain number of Israeli off-road vehicles such as the Storm in the reconnaissance patrol version, which provides additional space for fuel, water and other equipment.

In 2013, Israel and Azerbaijan began negotiations over the supply of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometres to 70 kilometres away.

The tests which were carried out by experts showed that Iron Dome can effectively fight any operative-tactical missile system, including Russian Iskander short-range ballistic missiles.

Is cooperation between Baku and Jerusalem directed against third countries?

Military-technical cooperation between Baku and Jerusalem causes certain concerns in Yerevan.  For example, according to the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz", in March 2019, Armenian Ambassador to Egypt Armen Melkonyan visited Jerusalem and conveyed a note of protest from Yerevan to Israeli Foreign Ministry representative, Dan Orian in connection with the supply of Israeli weapons to Baku.

In particular, it was about the facts of “use of Israeli-made drones by the Azerbaijani military in Karabakh against Armenian volunteers.” At that very moment, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigor Hovhannisyan said in an interview with another Israeli newspaper "The Jerusalem Post" that Armenia would “welcome a situation” where Israel would do as the US and most European countries have done and not sell arms to either Armenia or Azerbaijan.

It should be noted that Alexander Tsinker, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, the Head of the Israel-Armenia forum, mentioned the possibilities of supplying Israeli weapons to Armenians.  In an interview with Sputnik Armenia, he stated that first of all, the bilateral cooperation between Jerusalem and Yerevan can be developed in any sphere, including military, and secondly, Israel has already offered weapons to Yerevan. However, this information is not confirmed by other sources.

The official Jerusalem stresses that, by supplying the arms to Baku, it never acts directly against Yerevan. Particularly, it should be noted that tens of thousands of immigrants from Azerbaijan live in Israel, there are also a lot of Armenians. Moreover, on April 14, 2012, Israeli Armenians staged a protest against the sale of Israeli weapons to Azerbaijan in front of the building of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  The protesters also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Israel has not so far officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. 

At the same time, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Israel is afraid of the Iranian influence in Armenia.  Examples of such influence are quite enough. Serzh Sargsyan, who served as the Minister of Armenian Defense  in the Andranik Margaryan's government, noted in his  “Directions of National Security Strategy of the Republic of Armenia” program report described the Armenian-Iranian relations as strategic. Despite the fact that serious cooperation between Tehran and Yerevan is still not observed in this area, Jerusalem is closely following the situation.

Azerbaijan is friendly but cautious

Today, relations between Azerbaijan and Israel in the military and military-technical fields are characterized as partnership relations, both in tactical and strategic sense.

In this regard, the fact, that despite the  rather active Israeli-Azerbaijani relations in all spheres, including the military, Azerbaijan does not opened its embassy in Israel, is indicative.  Although Israel and Azerbaijan established diplomatic relations, and in 1993, Israel opened an embassy in Baku.

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