BAKU: Azerbaijan set to buy modern artillery guns from Russia

Azerbaijan set to buy modern artillery guns from Russia – daily

Ekho, Baku
21 Jul 04

Azerbaijan has begun negotiations with a Russian arms manufacturer to
buy a new model of artillery guns, the Azerbaijani newspaper Ekho has
said. In an interview with the newspaper, an independent military
expert welcomed Azerbaijan’s intention of buying the new model of
artillery guns and said it will help improve the training of
Azerbaijani gunners and the country will get a modern weapon of high
quality. The expert also added that Armenia is one step ahead of
Azerbaijan in updating its military arsenal and if Azerbaijan
concludes a contract with the Russians, the national army will only
benefit from this. The following is an excerpt from R. Orucov report
by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekho on 21 July headlined “Azerbaijan is
having ongoing negotiations to purchase artillery guns” and subheaded
“This can only be welcomed, a military expert thinks”. Subheadings
have been inserted editorially:

Negotiations have begun with Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is taking steps to update its military arsenal. This is
proved by the news that recently appeared on numerous Russian military
web sites. We are talking about the Expo Arms-2004 exhibition in
Nizhniy Tagil on 6-10 July. As has been reported, the Azerbaijani
presidential aide for military issues, Maj-Gen Vahid Aliyev, took part
in the exhibition. Over two days of the exhibition, experts from
various foreign delegations showed interest in the output of the
Motovilikhinskiye Zavody company (town of Perm), which is one of the
most famous manufacturers of artillery hardware in Russia, the
company’s web site says. Negotiations have begun with guests from
Azerbaijan, India, China, Cuba and some other countries.

What products did Azerbaijan show interest in? “A 120mm NONA-K towed
cannon, which is one of the enterprise’s most promising products, was
presented at the exhibition. The cannon has a unique combination of
qualities and can be used as a howitzer, a mortar or an anti-tank
gun. NONA-K attracted the attention of many experts who took part in
the Russian Expo Arms-2004 exhibition. The inventors of the 2B16
NONA-K cannon had taken Afghanistan experience into account. The
cannon is equipped with a jack to ensure its hard connection with the
surface in a gun emplacement. Unlike its self-propelled model, the
cannon’s barrel is provided with muzzle brake which absorbs up to 30
per cent of recoil energy. In line with the rules, the 120mm 2B16
cannot is towed by a GAZ-66 vehicle, but an UAZ-469 vehicle can also
cope with that task. This is a universal gun that combines a mortar
and a light howitzer. It has a low combat weight (1.2 tonnes), a small
size and matchless flexibility of fire which is characterized by a
wide firing range (from 1.7 to 12.8 km).

[Passage omitted: Other technical details of the gun]

No comment

Yesterday, Ekho managed to contact Igor Vagan, the director of the
foreign relations department of the Motovilikhinskiye Zavody
company. “Arms exports are a very delicate subject. However, what our
web site says about Azerbaijan is completely true. Indeed,
representatives of Azerbaijan’s state agencies have talked to
employees of our unit dealing with military equipment production.
However, I cannot make any comment on the current stage of the talks
and on the supposed amount of potential purchase by Azerbaijan,” Vagan

He apologized for not being able to give us any details, saying that
the subject is confidential. “Unfortunately, I cannot say anything
about the price of the NONA-K cannon,” he said.

Armenia one step ahead

In any case, Azerbaijan’s well-known military expert Uzeyir Cafarov
positively regards the country’s intention of buying this universal
artillery gun. “It’s better to have few NONA-K cannons than the
cannons both Armenia and we possess. First, NONA has greater
efficiency than similar models of arms which our army is using and our
soldiers are learning to handle. The cannon’s hitting accuracy is 99.9
per cent. Previous similar models were weaker in terms of angular
deviation, wind correction and hitting accuracy. NONA is a weapon of
the latest generation. In addition, it was tested long ago,
demonstrated perfect results and can be successfully used in
hostilities. It can also be used to improve the training of
Azerbaijani gunners and mortar crew members.” If this issue ends
successfully, Cafarov said, Azerbaijan will get a modern weapon of
high quality.

According to him, “there is information which is not being divulged by
the media. Armenia is now busy updating its military potential. This
applies to artillery, light and heavy hardware. If Azerbaijan
concludes a contract with the Russian side, the national army will
only win from this – this will be of greater benefit than the hardware
we possess today.”

Taking into account that the Azerbaijani army is still equipped with
hardware invented and manufactured by the Soviet military-industrial
complex, “I think that the purchase of such weapons as NONA-K is
necessary”, he added. Over the past 10 years of independence,
Azerbaijan has not carried out a considerable replacement of various
weapons. “In terms of purchasing new hardware, we are behind
Armenia. It is no secret that the Armenians are searching the world
for new types of weapons to replenish their arsenal and are buying
them with the help of their strategic partner Russia. They are one
step ahead of us in this issue.”