Azerbaijani Land Forces

Azerbaijani Land Forces
Azerbaijani Land Forces
Coat of arms of Azerbaijani Land Forces
Active c.1992 - present
Country  Azerbaijan
Allegiance Azerbaijan
Branch Land Forces
Size Disputed.
IISS 2010: 56,840[1] MilTech 2008: 74,000[2]
Part of Azerbaijani Armed Forces
Headquarters Baku
Engagements Nagorno-Karabakh War
Samad bey Mehmandarov

The Azerbaijani Land Forces (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Silahlı Qüvvələri Quru Qoşunları) are the land force component of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.[3][4] Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has been trying to further develop its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and mobile military. Based on 2007 statistics the country has about 56,840 ground force troops, with additional paramilitary forces of 15,000. In addition, there are 300,000 former service personnel who have had military service in the last fifteen years.[5]

Reportedly, in wartime, the Army proper could call upon the support of the National Guard, the Internal Troops of Azerbaijan, and the State Border Service. The exact wartime command structure remains unclear.



Personnel of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces at 2010 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

During the Soviet period, Azerbaijan was part of the Transcaucasus Military District, whose forces in the republic were commanded by the 4th Army. The 4th Army consisted of three motor rifle divisions (the 23rd Motor Rifle Division (MRD) at Ganja, the 60th at Lankaran, and the 295th in Baku) and army troops that included missile and air defense brigades and artillery and rocket regiments. Azerbaijan also hosted the 49th Arsenal of the Main Agency of Missiles and Artillery of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which contained over 7,000 train-car loads of ammunition to the excess of one billion units. In addition, the 75th Motor Rifle Division, part of the 7th Guards Army, was in Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.

In summer 1992, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan, following a resolution by the Azerbaijani president on the privatization of units and formations in Azerbaijani territory, forwarded an ultimatum demanding control over vehicles and armaments of the 135th and 139th motorized rifle regiments of the 295th Motor Rifle Division.[6] The transfer of the property of the 4th Army (except for over half the equipment of the 366th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment of the 23rd Division captured by Armenian armed formations in 1992 during the regiment's withdrawal from Stepanakert) and the 49th Arsenal was completed in 1992. Thus, by the end of 1992, the Azerbaijani Government received arms and military hardware sufficient for approximately three motorized rifle divisions with prescribed army units. The stores and equipment of the 75th Division were handed over to the Nakhichevan government.[7] The former Division HQs may have contributed to the formation of corps headquarters.

Azerbaijan has also implemented a new organizational style in order to modernize its army. Over the last 15 years, Azerbaijan has been preparing its military for possible action against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. However Azerbaijan has continually stated that it is interested in a diplomatic and peaceful solution.

Azerbaijan has contracted with Turkey for troop training to strengthen its armed forces. This is necessary in view of deficiencies that Jane's World Armies said in 2004 included huge problems in training, equipping and motivating its soldiers; corruption in its ranks; and a highly politicised officer corps.[8] The Soviet Army tradition of dedovshchina, institutionalised hazing, appears to be continuing in the armed forces as of 2008.[9] The quality and readiness of much of the army's equipment, Jane's said, is also a problem, as a decade of poor maintenance and chronic shortages of spare parts means that many systems are not operational, or cannibalised for parts. Azerbaijan has the second highest military expenditure in CIS. Azerbaijan's defense spending is second only to Russia's within the Commonwealth of Independent States. [10]


Azerbaijani Land Forces Structure 2007

Faced by Armenian forces apparently with some Russian support, the Azeri military was forced back out of Nagorno-Karabakh, and was significantly reorganised in the mid 1990s predominantly around brigades, though at least one division was reported as late as 2000. Manoeuvre formations have consistently stayed at a strength of around twenty brigades and regiments since 1995, though that has slowly risen recently. During the 1990s, these brigades may have included the 701st Motor Rifle Brigade (мсбр)(1st Army Corps), the 708th Motor Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps), 130th Motor Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps), 161 мсбр(2 АК), 709 мсбр Быв. 23 мсд, and the 112th Motor Rifle Brigade.

In 2002-4 the IISS Military Balance reported personnel strength falling while total manoeuvre formations increased by one. The Military Balance 2003-4 reported an army strength of 56,000, with four corps headquarters and twenty-three motor rifle brigades, compared to the previous year’s edition showing 62,000 personnel and twenty-two brigades. Artillery and anti-tank units include two brigades and a regiment. 1st Army Corps is headquartered at Yevlakh (Евлах) reportedly with six brigades in 1999. ( gave the corps 1, 3, 9, 10, 15, 17th Motor Rifle Brigades in 1999. The 2nd Army Corps at Pirəkəşkül had seven brigades attached in 1999 ( naming these brigades as the 2, 4, 6, 8, 13, 14, and 18th Motor Rifle Brigades), while 3rd Army Corps, also with six brigades attached, was headquartered at Shamkir/Shamkira (Шамкира). named these formations as the 7, 11, 12, 16, 19, 20 Motor Rifle Brigades (1999). 4th Army Corps was in the isolated Nakhichevan enclave. It is a former motor rifle division with three motor rifle regiments (1999).

The IISS estimated in 2007 that the Azeri regular army was 56,840 strong, probably basing this figure on Conventional Forces in Europe treaty data. It attributes to the army five corps headquarters, 23 motor rifle brigades, one artillery brigade, one multiple rocket launcher brigade, and one anti-tank regiment.[5] Of the five army corps, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Army Corps are concentrated against NK; part of 2nd Army Corps is deployed on the Azerbaijan-Iranian border; the 4th (Bakinskiy) Army Corps covers the capital and the coast and the 5th Army Corps is deployed in Nakhichevan.[11]

Azerbaijani formations reportedly include motor rifle brigade at Гянджа/Gyandzha, motor rifle brigade at Hacı Zeynalabdin, мсбр Кусары/Kusar, мсбр Nakhichivan, мсбр Казах/Kazakh, мсбр Товуз/Tovuz, мсбр Бейлаган/Beilagan, мсбр Göytəpə, Jalilabad (Гейтепе), мсбр Джульфа/Dzhulfa, мсбр Кедабек/Kedabek, tank brigade Gyuzdek/Гюздек. [12]



Warrant Officers

NCOs and Enlisted


Members of the Azerbaijani Special Forces during a military parade in Baku 2011
Exercise participants from Azerbaijan pass in review during CENTRASBAT (Central Asian Peacekeeping Battalion) 2000 opening ceremonies on September 13th, 2000.

In the past 10–12 years Azerbaijan has purchased significant quantities of weapons and military equipment, specifically tanks, artillery systems and combat aircraft. The amount of arms purchased by Azerbaijan have reached such a point that Azerbaijan now has almost twice as many tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems and other equipment as allowed it under the limits set by the updated 1999 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Elbit Systems, one of the world's largest defense electronics manufacturers and integrators, will upgrade the Azerbaijani Army's T-72 tanks.[13][14][15]

Azerbaijani T-72 on military parade.

In 2007, the Azerbaijani main battle tank inventory consisted of 220 tanks.[5] An additional 62 T-72's were acquired from Russia in 2009.[16]

Adding the 2007 IISS figure to the 62 tanks reported to be delivered by Russia gives a total of 282. However this addition makes no provision for inaccuracies in the IISS estimate nor any unreported changes in the number of tanks actually to be delivered by Russia. Another contract as of 2010 states Azerbaijan's army is planning to buy a number of T-84 tanks from the Ukraine and are still negotiations for a contract.

  • T-84 main battle tank (under negotiations as of 2011).
  • 382 x T-72 Main battle tank - Upgraded by Elbit
  • 100 x T-55 Main battle tank[5] - Withdrawn from service

Armored Combat Vehicles

Otokar Cobra during military parade 2011.

The Azerbaijani army has many armoured combat vehicles, including: BMP-1, BMP-2, BMP-3 and MT-LB armored combat vehicles.

In 2007 the IISS said the Azerbaijani army had 595 armoured combat vehicles including:[5] An additional 29 BTR-70's were acquired from Ukraine in 2009,[17] bringing the total number of armoured combat vehicles to 624 in 2009. There are also reports, not confirmed by the IISS, that the Matador (Mine Protected Vehicle) and the Marauder (Mine Protected Vehicle) are in service.

  • Soviet Union 30 x BMD-1 Airborne combat vehicle
  • Soviet Union 21 x BTR-D Armoured personnel Carrier
  • Soviet Union 150-200 x BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle
  • Soviet Union 300 x BMP-2 Infantry fighting vehicle
  • Soviet Union N-A x BMP-3 Infantry fighting vehicle
  • Soviet Union 21 x BRM-1 Infantry fighting vehicle
  • Soviet Union 25 x BTR-60 Wheeled armoured personnel carrier
  • Soviet Union 149 x BTR-70 Wheeled armoured personnel carrier
  • Soviet Union 119 x BTR-80 Wheeled armoured personnel carrier
  • Russia 90 x BTR-80A Wheeled armoured personnel carrier
  • Turkey 100 x Otokar_Cobra armoured personnel carrier
  • Ukraine 6 x BTR-3
  • Soviet Union 29 x BRDM-2
  • Soviet Union 400 x MT-LB Tracked armoured personnel carrier
  • South Africa/Azerbaijan 25 x Matador (mine protected vehicle) [18]

Military Truck

Artillery Systems

Azeri artillery aim to provide rapid reaction, mobility and fire power.

  • Soviet Union 400 x 2B11 Sani
  • Turkey MO-120-RT-61
  • Soviet Union 29 x 2S9 120mm self-propelled gun-mortar
  • Soviet Union 182 x D-30 122mm towed howitzer
  • Soviet Union 34 x D-20 152mm towed gun-howitzer
  • Soviet Union 36 x M-46 130mm towed gun
  • Soviet Union 34 x 2A36 152mm towed gun
  • Soviet Union 81 x 2S1 122mm self-propelled howitzer
  • Soviet Union 6 2S3 152mm self-propelled howitzer 6 sighted in 2008 militairy parade
  • Soviet Union 12 x 2S7 203mm self-propelled howitzer[21]
  • Soviet Union 63 x BM-21 122mm multiple rocket launcher
  • Israel Lynx[22] modular rocket launcher (with EXTRA, LAR-160 and Grad) - Azerbaijan and IMI signed a contract in 2008 september worth hundreds of millions of dollars.[23]
  • Turkey TR-107
  • Turkey T-122 Sakarya - Azerbaijan and Roketsan signed a contract worth $244M in 2010. [24]
  • Soviet Union 18 x 9A52 300mm multiple rocket launcher
  • Soviet Union 3 x OTR-21 Tochka 3 sighted in 2008 militairy parade.
  • Israel ATMOS 2000
  • Israel Cardom - Azerbaijan and Soltam signed a contract in 2008 september worth hundreds of millions of dollars.[25]
  • Turkey 36-40 x T-155 Firtina - Talks are being held on the purchase and sale of the military equipment. The sides are expected to sign the contract worth about $200M by the end of 2011 for 36-40 T-155 Firtina.[26]

Infantry Weapons


  1. ^ The Military Balance 2010. London: Routledge for the IISS. 2010. p. 177. ISBN 1857435575. 
  2. ^ "World Defence Almanac". Military Technology (Bonn, Germany: Monch Publishing Group) XXXII (1): s244-45. 2008. ISSN 0722-3226. 
  3. ^ Azərbaycan Quru Qoşunları yaradıld (Azerbaijani)
  4. ^ В Азербайджане созданы сухопутные войска (Russian)
  5. ^ a b c d e IISS (2007). The Military Balance 2007. London: Routledge for the IISS. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-85743-437-8. 
  6. ^ Vladimir Petrov, How South Caucasus was armed, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (Moscow, Russia)
  7. ^ Tehran IRNA, 9 January 1992, as transcribed in FBIS, Soviet Union Daily Report, 92-007, 10 January 1992, p. 53., via ref in 75 MRD note in 7th Guards Army article.
  8. ^ Jane's World Armies Azerbaijan, as accessed October 2004
  9. ^ "Infosud - Tribune des Droits Humains | Journal en ligne offrant une information indépendante et pluraliste sur les droits de l'homme dans le monde".,3643. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Azerbaijan has second highest military expenditure in CIS". News.Az. Retrieved Tue 22 February 2011 07:45 GMT. 
  11. ^ C. W. Blandy Azerbaijan: Is War Over Nagornyy Karabakh a Realistic Option? Advanced Research and Assessment Group. Caucasus Series 08/17. — Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2008, p.12
  12. ^ <>
  13. ^ "Elbit to upgrade Azeri tanks". "UPI". October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Azerbaijan eliminated Aselsan, selected Israeli Elbit to upgrade Tanks". "TRdefence". October 18, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  15. ^ Israeli company to upgrade Azerbaijan’s tanks
  16. ^ Russia delivered 62 T-72 tanks to Azerbaijan
  17. ^ Ukraine publicizes list of arms and ammunitions sold to Azerbaijan in 2009
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b "Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries expands agreement with Paramount Group on Joint Production of Advanced Armoured Vehicles". "Azerbaijan Press Agency". May 12, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ ARG. "Azerbaijan Lynx Multiple Launch Rocket System". Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ [3]
  26. ^ Azerbaijan interested in Turkey’s Firtina Self-Propelled Howitzer

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