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Army "Black garden". Armenia and Azerbaijan can be put on the battlefield
Material posted: Publication date: 08-04-2016
The hardest thing over the past 20 years, the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict if yet grew into a new Armenian-Azerbaijani war, it is very close to that. What forces can put on the battlefield both sides and what might be the consequences of the conflict, understood "".

Oil monarchies of the Caucasus

The military machine of Azerbaijan on formal indicators and financial and technical equipment is significantly more impressive forces and means of the Armenian coalition. Baku's military spending, which in 2003, $ 135 million has increased to 1.5 billion by 2010 and the plan for 2016 exceed 1.7 billion. In 2013, at the peak of the procurement of the equipment, Azerbaijan had spent on his army 3.7 billion. For comparison: the account part of the entire state budget of Armenia in that year amounted to 2.6 billion dollars.

Azerbaijan armed forces consist of about 67 thousand people, of which about 57 thousand in the army, to eight thousand in the Navy and more than two thousand in the air force. To the tasks of defense in time of war may engage part of the National guard (about 2.5 thousand people) and the interior forces (12 thousand people) and the guard (about five thousand men). The number of trained reserve armed forces is estimated at 300 thousand people.

The armament of the Azerbaijani army has been significantly upgraded in recent years, thanks in part to a large supply from Russia. In particular, in 2010-2014 were received 100 T-90S tanks (there is an option for another 94 such machines), and 100 BMP-3, 18 2С19М1 SAU "Msta-S", 18 SAU 2С31 "Vienna", 9А52 18 MLRS "Smerch" and 18 heavy flame thrower system TOS-1A "the Sun", and 300 MANPADS "Igla-S" with a loaded 1500 rockets.

In addition, the Azerbaijani army has received from Russia a serious set of engineering machinery and equipment, which, as pointed out by military experts, is designed to overcome the fortified sections echeloned defense of the Karabakh army.

Air defense forces received from Russia two divisions of anti-aircraft missile system s-300PMU-2 "Favorit" and several batteries of anti-aircraft complex "tor-М2Э". The air force received 60 transport helicopters Mi-17 and 24 shock of helicopter Mi-35M.

The army of Azerbaijan organizational organized into five army corps, numbering 23 infantry brigade. In the Central command are also separate artillery brigade, the brigade MLRS and anti-tank regiment. The 2nd and 3rd buildings are situated directly on the borders of Karabakh, 1st corps deployed in the vicinity of Yevlakh and Ganja, the 4th is centred around Baku, the 5th defends the Nakhichevan exclave.

Ground forces have, for the most realistic estimates, about 450 tanks, including about 100 new T-90S, the rest of the T-72A and T-72M1, obtained by the section of Soviet property (a substantial part of them, however, lost during the war, 1992-1994), and passed in 2000-ies of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Part tanks T-72 modernized by the Israeli company Elbit under the scheme, close to the Georgian T-72SIM-1.

The rest includes more than 200 armored vehicles BMP-1, BMP-2, BMP-3 and BMD-1 and more than 750 armored personnel carriers — mostly ambulance (over 300 cars) and the BTR-70 and 70 of the new Russian BTR-80A and about 600 armored vehicles. About 200 armored vehicles is available in the internal troops.

The artillery of the Azerbaijani army has approximately 120 ACS. In addition to these new almost half are older 2C1 "Carnation". In addition, there are 12 units 203-millimeter installations 2S7 "Pion", obtained from the Ukraine and from Belarus. Towed artillery is represented, according to various estimates, approximately 220-280 trunks, mostly old Soviet 122-mm howitzer D-30. Also in the presence of about 250 MLRS Soviet, Turkish and Israeli production (including supplied from Russia and Ukraine "Tornadoes", "Hurricanes" and "the Sun"). There are more than 1200 mortar shells, basically 120mm 2Б11 "Sled" and 82-millimeter 2Б14 "Tray", and also 85 legacy 120-millimeter mortars PM-38, sold by Ukraine.

Antitank weapons, in addition to 100-mm guns MT-12 "rapier", presents about 100 ATGM "cornet" received from Russia in 2010, and up to 300 other complexes, including the Soviet legacy, as well as several Israeli Spike ATGM. However, the most powerful part of the means of antitank defense is the ten assault guns of the newest complex "the Chrysanthemum-With" transferred from Russia in the summer of 2015. There are three launchers operational-tactical missiles 9К79-1 "Tochka-U" imported from the Ukraine after 2010. From the number of new systems available on the armed forces of Azerbaijan also worth mentioning is the unmanned vehicles, including shock.

Air defenses of the ground troops, besides the already mentioned Tor the division of the Belarusian 9К37МБ AAMS "Buk-MB" and handed over to Russia 9К317 "Buk-M1-2", military complexes 9К33-1T "OSA-1T" (modernized in Belarus) and "Strela-10" and the obsolete Soviet SAM "Circle".

The basis of fighter aviation of the air forces of Azerbaijan consists of 16 MiG-29 and MiG-29UB received from Ukraine in 2007-2012, which are designed to replace 20 of the aircraft type MiG-25, which section of Baku from the Soviet legacy.

Attack aircraft of the air force of Azerbaijan is mainly an su-25 (over 30 units with the latest supplies from Georgia), several front-line bombers su-24 and fighter-bombers su-17, the remaining from Soviet times.

Also there is 20 to 30 training aircraft L-29 and L-39 and two transport aircraft Il-76 (one in storage). The helicopters represented approximately fifty drums of machines (Mi-24 helicopters and the new Mi-35M), more than 70 vertibird transport mil Mi-8/17 helicopters and several light Mi-2.

Air defense of the country, in addition to these s-300PMU-2, equipped with the Israeli Barak SAM system division 8, division s-200, as well as more than 50 launchers s-125-2ТМ "Pechora-TM", have undergone modernization in Belarus.

The flagship of the Azerbaijani Navy is the frigate "hussar" — the former TFR-16 ("Baku"), former patrol boat project 159A, built in 1967. In addition to his Navy a few patrol ships (original — Soviet boats of the project 205П), six medium landing ships of projects 770 and 771А and minesweepers.

The marine corps has a separate battalion. The Navy is subordinated to intelligence-subversive group (the so-called brigade "Tigers") that is deployed on the basis of the former Soviet naval recce point of special purpose, belongs to the Caspian flotilla.

Poor inheritance

Armenia's share in the Soviet military legacy was much more modest than that of Azerbaijan. And it what had in the first Karabakh war was only part of this modest share. However, the Armenian forces managed not only to hold its positions in Karabakh and the Lachin corridor, but also significantly expand the area under its control, providing area security on both sides of the corridor. Change the status of Baku failed even with the participation in the summer offensive of 1992 on the side of Azerbaijan subdivisions 328-th Guards parachute regiment of the 104th Airborne division, whose tactical success and not meant to become something more. The action of the regiment in this attack was led by Colonel Vladimir Shamanov, commander of airborne forces of the future.

After the cessation of hostilities in 1994, the frontline hardly changed, and probably the main part of military construction of the NKR and Armenia was to strengthen defensive positions in controlled areas. Been to Karabakh mainly affects the scale fortification works: the lines of trenches, Pillboxes and ramparts stretching along roads for miles, hiding the car moving on the highway from the fire.

The composition and number of the fortifications is not known, but they are quite clear. It is much harder to establish the real combat capabilities of the Armenian armed forces, including the formation of a Nagorno-Karabakh: Yerevan and Stepanakert carefully classify data on the number of their military equipment.

The total number of Armenian and Karabakh forces is about 70 thousand people, which is roughly comparable to the number of the armed forces of Azerbaijan, but Armenia is objectively inferior to the availability of advanced equipment. The total number of tanks Karabakh and Armenia exceeds 400 units, but most modern ones are modernized T-72. The most serious is the gap settings and the number of armoured fighting vehicles of other classes — APCS and IFVs. In total, Armenian forces have, according to various estimates, about 500 ACVS, however, the most modern of them is BMP-2 and BTR-80. However, since the main task of the Armenian forces is to protect their own positions, this gap is not too critical.

Own funds for the purchase of modern weapons Yerevan today almost does not have, therefore, derived from the Russian technique basically is passed in credit or within the framework of cooperation in the CSTO. In particular, in February 2016 Moscow Yerevan has allocated the credit in $ 200 million to purchase armaments, under which Armenia will receive multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) 9К58 "Tornado" with ammunition, man-portable anti-aircraft missile complexes "Igla-S", the set of passive electronic intelligence "Avtobaza-M" heavy rocket flamethrower system TOS-1A "the Sun", armored "Tiger", antitank rocket complexes "Contest-M" anti-tank grenade launchers RPG-26, small arms, the engines and sights for T-72 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, means of communication, various engineering machinery and trucks of the company "KAMAZ". For all this, Armenia will pay with 2018 in rubles, previously provided a Deposit of 10 per cent for each of the contracts. The loan rate is three percent, and the period of payment to ten years.

The Armenian air force are comparatively low, have about a half dozen su-25 and some training aircraft. The fleet of helicopters consists of 12 units of Mi-24 helicopters and about a dozen Mi-8 transport helicopters and light multipurpose Mi-2. The army of Karabakh has its own air force in the form of a pair of su-25 attack aircraft and a few helicopters.

The defences of Armenia's pretty impressive, they are based on inherited from the Soviet Union five divisions of anti-aircraft missile systems s-300ПС 12 launchers in each. Their technical condition is unknown, but, according to available information, Armenia supports s-300 in working condition, and their calculations regularly show high results during firing at Russian firing ranges.

The combat capability of older systems s-200, s-125 and s-75 are not precisely known, as their numbers. Defense of the Armenian and Karabakh troops provides approximately the same set of SAM systems like "Strela-10", self-propelled installations "Shilka" and towed ZU-23 and the missiles "Strela" and "Igla". It should be noted, however, that according to the Armenian side the first downed significantly in the next exacerbation of Azerbaijani Mi-24 became the victim of a grunt with a grenade launcher RPG-7.

The story about the defensive potential of Armenia would be incomplete without mention of the potential of 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri with a strength of about five thousand people, having a group of MiG-29 fighters, the division of anti-aircraft missile system s-300V. However this base, functioning within the framework of the defense system of the CSTO can and should engage the enemy in case of aggression against Armenia as such, but the war in Nagorno Karabakh is not an excuse for actions of the Russian forces.

Misty alignment

The formal balance of forces determines the outcome of this war. Fighting in the mountains in themselves are unpredictable, and given the objectively best combat training of the Armed forces of Armenia is the result of a collision may be not favorable for Azerbaijan. However a large number of new equipment in the Armed forces of Azerbaijan military gives this country hope for a different outcome in and of itself could serve as the catalyst for the fighting that began quite suddenly.

Arms trade with Azerbaijan often put the blame in Moscow, however, this medal has two sides. First of all, obviously, adopted in Russia, the scheme of the arms trade on the principle "we are ready to cooperate with all" has also had negative consequences: the commercial interests of producers and exporters come into this case in conflict with the political interests of the country as such. On the other hand, it is equally clear that if Moscow did not supply weapons to Baku, I would buy elsewhere — the benefit of the offers on the market enough. At present, Russia has more levers of pressure on Azerbaijan in the form of supply of spare parts and accessories, knowledge of the capabilities and performance of delivered systems, which to some extent will facilitate the reaction.

Worst possible outcome of the war may be the address of the region in another area of eternal conflict, which would require a lot of resources to stabilize and limit the spread of hostilities. Russia will be forced to invest there in the first place. Wanting to divert resources of Moscow on suppression of this fire is enough, and there is no doubt that by the kindling of this conflict would be made sufficient efforts. In this regard, for Russia the most optimal would be a speedy end to the conflict with the return to the status quo — essentially this means that in interests of Russia — defeat of Azerbaijan.

The reversion to the original position does not guarantee the absence of outbreaks in the future, and here Moscow will need to learn new leverage over post-Soviet elites of the Transcaucasus. If we start from the strongest economic dependence and Baku, and Yerevan from the business of national diasporas in Russia, such levers. The question is whether the Russian government to use them in the interests of Russia itself.

Ilya Kramnik, Konstantin Bogdanov



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