We are interested in new developments, of course, and technical groups are studying new capabilities. We have already sent several requests, so the cooperation with Russia in this field will also be developing,” said Aliyev.
Azerbaijan previously acquired several types of Russian-designed weapon systems. During a military parade held in Baku in December 2020, the Azeri military showcased T-90S main battle tanks (MBTs), BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and BTR-82A armored personnel carriers. The artillery component comprised Msta-S 152 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), TOS-1A Solntsepyok (Sunburn) 220 mm heavy self-propelled rocket launchers, Smerch (Whirlwind) 300 mm multiple rocket launch systems, and Khrizantema-S (NATO reporting name: AT-15 Springer) self-propelled anti-tank guided missile systems.
The air group, which made a fly-past over Baku, included a number of Soviet/Russian-designed platforms, namely, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (Fulcrum) fighter jets, Mil Mi-17 (Hip) utility helicopters, Mil Mi-35 (Hind-E) gunships, and Sukhoi Su-25 (Frogfoot-A) close air support aircraft.
It should be mentioned that the Azeri military also showcased a number of Soviet-made weapons, including BMP-2 IFVs, T-72 MBTs, 2S3 Akatsiya 152 mm SPHs, 2S7 Pion 203 mm SPHs, and upgraded S-125 (SA-3 Goa), Osa (SA-8 Gecko), and Buk-MB (SA-11 Gadfly) air defense weapons, and BM-21 Grad 122 MRL systems.
Azerbaijan intensively used the Soviet- and Russian-designed artillery during the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the official YouTube channel of the Azeri Ministry of Defense (MoD), TOS-1A Solntsepyok (Sunburn) heavy rocket launchers were intensively used during the conflict. In particular, the military fired the systems during heavy assaults on field installations and protected manpower.
The TOS-1A self-propelled heavy flamethrower is designed to support manpower and tanks in direct/indirect firing mode during offensive/defensive operations. The combined destruction of targets is done through the medium of a high temperature and an increased pressure. The TOS-1A system incorporates the tank-based BM-1 combat vehicle with and two tank-based TZM-T transport loaders. The system can be supplied with the TZM (563-K) transport-loader vehicle that is based on a cross-country 8×8 wheeled truck. The system fires unguided thermobaric rockets.
The BM-1 combat vehicle is a tank-based MLRS. It is fitted with a fire control system that incorporates a periscopic laser sighting system rangefinder, a digital specialized computing assembly with sensor equipment, electro-hydraulic actuators, and a fire support system. The BM-1 combat vehicle also carries auxiliary systems and pieces of equipment (communication systems, observation devices, a nuclear/biological/chemical protection system, a fire extinguishing system, and self-digging equipment).
The BM-1 combat vehicle has a weight of 44.3 t, the TZM-T transport-loader – weighing 39 t (with rockets), the TZM (563-K) transport loader – a weight of 23.4 t. The BM-1 and TZM-T vehicles are based on the chassis of the T-72A tank, while the TZM-K transport loader – on the KAMAZ-63501 truck. BM-1 is armed with 24 launching tubes. The TZM-T and TZM (563-K) transport loaders carry 24 rockets. The BM-1 combat vehicle has a minimum firing range of 400-600 m, a maximum firing range of 6,000 m, a combat readiness time of 90 seconds, and a full salvo time of 6-12 seconds.
The TZM-T/TZM (563-K) transport loader features racks for unguided rockets, a loader crane with a hydraulic actuator, an applique armor kit to protect the ammunition stowage, and hardware for the loading mechanism.