Amidst heightened tensions and regional rivalries, Azerbaijan charts a course towards self-reliance in defence by enhancing domestic production capabilities and fostering strategic alliances to navigate complex geopolitical landscapes.

Azerbaijan’s commitment to bolstering its defence capabilities amidst escalating tensions is evident in its defence budget, projected to reach $4bn (6.8bn manat) by 2028, as highlighted in GlobalData’s “Azerbaijan Defense Market 2023-2038” report. The nation’s strategic focus on modernisation aims to fortify its military strength while reducing dependence on imports, particularly crucial in light of ongoing territorial disputes, notably with Armenia.

The recent resurgence of conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region underscores the Asian nations determination to maintain a decisive edge over its adversaries. This drive for military superiority extends beyond mere procurement, with Azerbaijan actively investing in domestic defence production capabilities. By nurturing indigenous and newly established production facilities, the country aims to enhance its self-reliance and strategic autonomy in defence matters.

Moreover, Azerbaijan’s defence strategy is characterised by a multifaceted approach to regional cooperation and bilateral relations. Strategic partnerships with neighbouring states like Georgia and Turkey contribute to regional stability and security, while alliances with global powers like Israel and the United States bolster Azerbaijan’s defence capabilities and counter potential threats.

Last year, the country partnered with Turkey’s “TUSAS” company to modernise its Su-25 aircraft, signing a contract to integrate Turkish-made smart bombs, missiles, and avionics upgrades. 

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

Procuring defence systems, including the Hurkus training and light attack aircraft, Aster 30 SAMP/T missile defence systems, and JF-17 Block-3 variants, exemplifies Azerbaijan’s strategic approach to enhancing its military capabilities through diversified acquisitions.