Azerbaijan opts for local-strategic hybrid in defense modernization

Amid heightened tensions and regional rivalries, Azerbaijan is charting a path toward defense self-reliance, bolstering domestic manufacturing capabilities and strengthening strategic alliances to navigate complex geopolitical landscapes.

Azerbaijan’s commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities amid escalating tensions is evident in its defense budget, which is projected to reach $4 billion (6.8 billion manat) by 2028, GlobalData points out.Defense Market of Azerbaijan 2023-2038” report. The nation’s strategic focus on modernization aims to strengthen its military might while reducing reliance on imports, particularly critical in light of ongoing territorial disputes, particularly with Armenia.

The recent resurgence of conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region underscores the determination of Asian nations to maintain a decisive advantage over their adversaries. This drive for military supremacy extends beyond simple procurement, with Azerbaijan actively investing in domestic defense production capabilities. By cultivating domestic and newly established manufacturing facilities, the country aims to strengthen its self-reliance and strategic autonomy in defense matters.

In addition, Azerbaijan’s defense strategy is characterized by a multifaceted approach to regional cooperation and bilateral relations. The strategic partnerships with neighboring states such as Georgia and Turkey contribute to regional stability and security, while alliances with global powers such as Israel and the United States are strengthening Azerbaijan’s defense capabilities and countering potential threats.

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Last year the country in collaboration with the Turkish “TUSAS” company to modernize Su-25 aircraft, signing a contract to incorporate Turkish-made smart bombs, missiles and avionics upgrades.

Azerbaijan’s commitment to modernization goes beyond its land forces and extends to its air force and navy. With strategic responsibility for safeguarding the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan’s navy plays a role in securing maritime interests and combating transnational threats such as drug trafficking. Investments in naval vessels and technologies underscore Azerbaijan’s determination to protect its maritime borders.

The procurement of defense systems, including Hurkus trainer and light attack aircraft, Aster 30 SAMP/T missile defense systems and JF-17 Block-3 variants, exemplifies Azerbaijan’s strategic approach to strengthening its military capabilities through diversified acquisitions .

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