Moscow Again Sells Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile Systems to Baku
14 March, 2013
Moscow Again Sells  Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile Systems to Baku
The Russian corporation RosOboronExport released the news that it has just delivered S-300 (NATO reporting name - SA-10 Grumble) long range surface-to-air missile system to Baku. The statement came in the wake of the rumors that angry Russian President ordered termination of all the arms supplies to Azerbaijan. According to Russian and Armenian press, the angst of President Putin allegedly stemmed from Azerbaijan’s denial to the request of Russia to prolong the rent for the exploitation of Gabal radio location station on original terms.
Since 2002, Russia used to pay 7 million US dollars as the rent of the Gabal station. At the end of the ten-year long renting contract – i.e. in 2012 – Azerbaijan demanded the increase of the rent money first to 15 million than to 150 million and finally to 300 million US dollars! Naturally, Kremlin rejected the deal and in 2012 officially stopped the exploitation of the station. Perhaps, another reason behind the Russian move was the forthcoming launch of a similar new station in Armavir.
In Armenia they hoped that the failure in further use of the Gabal station would spoil Russian-Azeri relations in military and technical spheres and hence eliminate any chance of Azeris’ purchasing Russian armament. Yerevan fears Baku’s ongoing arms purchases that span almost entire globe. The Armenian diplomats and militaries cannot openly chastise Kremlin but surely hate to see how Russia, their main partner, sells modern arms to Azerbaijan, their arch-enemy.
Appearance of S-300PMU2s Favorites (DoD designation - SA-20B) at the 2011 military parade in Baku was equal to throwing a wet blanket on Yerevan because the Favorites are capable of simultaneously shooting at 36 objects flying at up to 27 km in the sky within the 200km radius. According to some reports, Baku so far disposes of three divisions of Favorites with 36 launching pads and 112 missiles). Should Baku station the Favorites in the vicinity of the confrontation line, they would be able to control the air space of not only the Nagorno Karabagh but also even most of Armenia.
It seems Russia places no less importance on arms trade and revenues while pledging strategic partnership and support with Armenia in the South Caucasus. According to some sources, Baku paid 150 million US dollars to Kremlin for each Favorite.
The RosOboronExport’s statement did not specify the sub-type of S-300 delivered to Baku. Perhaps, it was Favorite again. This makes the Azeri air defence system as a formidable force not only in the South Caucasus but in the neighboring regions as well.
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