Azerbaijan’s Turkish-made rocket system bolsters country’s presence in region dispute - analyst

Azerbaijan has acquired Turkish-made multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), in a move that hints at strengthening ties with Ankara and providing “valuable opportunities” in outmanoeuvring regional rival Armenia in the heavily contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Jamestown Foundation reported on Monday.

The TRG-300 Kaplan (Tiger), which was used in Turkey’s military escalation in Syria’s Idlib province in February 2020, is “designed to annihilate a broad array of critical target types, including troop concentrations, high-importance facilities, command-and-control and radar sites, as well as artillery and air-defence systems”, analyst Can Kasapoğlu wrote for the Jamestown Foundation.

New heavy Azerbaijani deployments in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, an Azerbaijani exclave bordering Armenia, offers Azerbaijan’s “defence planners some valuable opportunities for outflanking” Armenian forces, and “promises to be a gamechanger” in the balance of military build-up between the two countries, he said.

Azerbaijan, a close political ally of Turkey, and Armenia remain in dispute over the occupied Karabakh region, which broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with Armenian military support.

In a display of strong bilateral defence ties between the two countries, Turkey and Azerbaijan have carried out joint military exercises over the years, which Kasapoğlu says manages to “further the notion of ‘two states, one nation’ beyond only rhetoric”.