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Azerbaijan seeks to strengthen ties with Israeli defence industry

By Arie Egozi

Azerbaijan is interested in several highly advanced Israeli-developed weapons systems, in addition to the ones already in use by its defence forces. The Israeli president arrived in Azerbaijan on May 30 for an official visit, symbolizing the further strengthening of relations between the two countries. As Azerbaijan shares a border with Iran, it holds significant importance in Israel's overall defence assessment.

President of Israel Isaac Herzog was invited by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and the two leaders will discuss strategic relations and participate in a special event commemorating Israel’s 75 years of statehood. Israeli defence sources have noted that the relationship with Azerbaijan offers potential benefits, such as deploying sensors on Azeri soil or utilizing its long border with Iran to enhance the capabilities of Israeli special units in penetrating Iranian territory if necessary. Azerbaijan could also potentially provide its airspace for Israeli jets.



Defence ties between Israel and Azerbaijan are not new, with Azerbaijan being a reliable client for Israeli-made weapons systems over the years. Israel serves as a major supplier of advanced defence systems to Azerbaijan.

Among the systems currently utilized by Azerbaijan are loitering munitions, which demonstrated success during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Azeris acquired the Elbit Systems SkyStriker loitering weapon system in 2018, and they have also purchased other loitering weapon systems such as the Harop, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Additionally, Azerbaijan has procured IAI’s long-range surface-to-surface precision missile called Lora.



Iran is aware of the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel and has expressed concerns regarding this matter. In a recent interview with the Teheran Times, Iran’s ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan addressed the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, stating concerns about potential intelligence activities or acts of sabotage. The Iranian ambassador mentioned that they have raised their concerns with Azerbaijani officials, who have assured them that nothing against Iran’s national interests will occur from Azerbaijan’s territory.

According to Israeli sources, Azerbaijan has prepared a shopping list that includes several highly advanced Israeli systems.

 

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