By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan’s defense industry is booming, while defense production exports are on the up. Azerbaijan is now building its own snipers, UAVs, armored vehicles and etc seeking to ensure self sufficiency. And more foreign countries are keen to purchase kit.
Over the past years, the country has embarked on a defense equipment policy which puts the emphasis squarely on indigenous manufacturing and development.
Defense Industry Minister Yavar Jamalov stressed that Azerbaijan exports locally made defense production to more than 10 countries.
The volume of defense products handed over to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry and other power structures grew by 1.3 times within these six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, the minister said addressing a board meeting on the results of the first half of 2017.
“Enterprises of the [Defense Industry] Ministry have increased the volume of defense production by 33.8 percent in the first half of this year,” said Jamalov.
The minister added that the range of defense products manufactured by the Ministry enterprises has reached 1,200 items.
Jamalov also noted that the Ministry enterprises have successfully completed the preparation and production of the mine-resistant national armored vehicle Tufan, and currently get ready for serial production.
Azerbaijan leaves behind many CIS and regional countries to take its place among the first 60 strongest militaries of the world, according to the U.S.-based Global Firepower survey center.
The country, which is in war with neighboring Armenia over the latter's groundless territorial claims during more than 20 years, keeps in focus the armament. Azerbaijan creates its own armament and works closely with leading companies and firms in various fields of military industry.
The Azerbaijani-made products transferred to the security forces include such weapons as mortars of various caliber and their ammunition, 5.45-millimeter machine guns, 7.62-mm general-purpose machine guns, sniper rifles of special purpose, Matador and Marauder armored personnel carriers. Moreover, Azerbaijani military factories produce 30-mm automatic grenade launcher complex, sight for ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft installation, ammo of various calibers, PG-7V grenade launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial bombs for a training exercise and many other weapons.
Last year, the Azerbaijani Defense Industry Ministry increased the volume of defense industry products by 1.6 times compared to 2015, while the product assortment rose by 1.8 times. Currently, twenty-eight military factories are operating within the Ministry.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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