Between 2-6 March, large-scale military drills are being carried out in Azerbaijan involving units form all branches of the armed forces. Emphasis in this years official initial statement was put on high-technology military equipment being used during the drills, particularly for remote operations management.
Significant coverage of Defence minister Zakir Hasanov was seen in official media reports in this year’s first major military exercises, referencing him commanding and inspecting different drills (1, 2).
Media reports showed armoured and heavy artillery units deploying for the drills earlier on 2 March from a major military base near the Mingechevir reservoir; the units included 152mm towable artillery guns, and their self-propelled variants the S23 Akatsya along with other armoured personnel carriers (APC). While units from another base just outside Baku were also deployed , which included BTR APCs, T-72 and T-90 tanks, as well as other vehicles. Aircraft also participated in the drills, including MiG-29 fighters most likely from the Nasosni airbase, Su-25 from the Kurdemir airbase, as well as Mi-35 combat and Mi-8 transport helicopters.
A similar event took place last year at around the same time, from 11-15 March, involving around 10,000 servicemen and 500 armoured vehicles, this year however, no precise numbers were made public by defence authorities.