Infantry Weapons

Azerbaijan displays new long-range missile systems

15 June 2018
Thee Polonez launchers are seen lined up with a command post vehicle at the new missile base. Source: Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed on 11 June that it has acquired both Belarussian Polonez and Israeli LORA precision surface-to-surface missile systems.

The MoD released photographs showing three Polonez launchers and at least two LORA launchers to publicise a visit by President Ilham Aliyev to a new base that has been built for a missile unit designated ‘N’.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported in April that Azerbaijan had ordered the Polonez, but the LORA procurement has not previously been reported.

The Polonez launcher carries eight 301 mm guided munitions that the Azerbaijani MoD said has a range of 300 km and a warhead weighing 140 kg. That would make it the longer-range Polonez-M version Belarus announced in 2017 as the original was stated to have a range of 200 km.

Although not directly admitted by Belorussian officials, the original missiles were A200s supplied by China. It is unclear if the missile used by the Polonez-M system is an improved version developed by Belarus or the A300 that is now being promoted by the Chinese company ALIT.

The MoD said the LORA has a range of 300 km and a 240 kg warhead, the latter being significantly lighter than the 400 kg currently listed for the weapon system on the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) website.

The two launchers displayed in Azerbaijan each carried four missiles. A third vehicle was seen with two missiles, but it was unclear if this was a different type of launcher or a transporter/loader.

Aliyev visited another base on 5 June where he was shown other Israeli weapon systems mounted on Plasan SandCat light armoured vehicles, including a Rafael Spike ER [extended-range] missile launcher, a Rafael MRL remotely controlled weapon station with a machine gun and Spike LR [long-range] missiles, and the Elbit Systems 120 mm Spear 2 mortar system.

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