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Azerbaijan buys 24 Russian attack helicopters
Azerbaijan is continuing to build up its army with the purchase of 24 Russian helicopters and the possible joint production of armoured vehicles.
Russian company Rostvertol signed a deal in September-October 2010 to sell 24 Mi-35M attack helicopters to Azerbaijan, Rostvertol General Director Boris Slyusar said yesterday.
The agreement came to light as the general director announced Rostvertol's 2010 trading figures.
The year was a successful one for the Rostov-based producer of Mi military and civil helicopters with a net profit of 1.3bn roubles ($44m), Slyusar said.
The Mi-35M is a multi-purpose attack helicopter, designed to destroy armoured hardware, provide aerial fire support for ground troops, carry paratroopers, evacuate the wounded and transport cargo in its hold and external cradle.
According to the Oruzhiye Rossii (Russian Weaponry) catalogue, as a modernized version of the Mi-24, the Mi-35M is practically a new helicopter.
The Mi-35M can fly in all weathers. It has a top speed of 310 km/h and a cruising speed of 260 km/h.
A standard flight distance is 460 km but the Mi-35M can fly up to 1,000 km.
Russia proposes joint production of armoured vehicles
In a separate development, Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport has suggested that Tiger armoured hardware be produced under licence in Azerbaijan.
Azad Mammadov, an assistant to Azerbaijan's minister of the defence Industry, spoke about the proposal at the IDEX-2011 International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
"We have a number of interesting proposals from Rosoboronexport on the joint production of military hardware, in particular, a project to organize the production of Tiger armoured hardware in Azerbaijan. We have received the proposal and are considering it," Mammadov told Russian news agency Arms-TASS.
He said that a representative of the Russian company that produced the Tiger light-armoured vehicles had made several presentations in Azerbaijan.
The Tiger is produced by the Arzamas Machine-Building Factory open joint-stock company.
It is designed for use in both civilian and military environments and is highly mobile and manoeuvrable, according to the Oruzhiye Rossii (Russian Weaponry) catalogue.
Azerbaijan has the capacity to produce the Tiger, Azad Mammadov said.
"We already have the experience of production under licence of the Marauder mine-protected vehicle jointly with South African company Paramount. The Tiger is a different class vehicle but it is very interesting," Mammadov said.
Azerbaijan has already started mass production of the Marauder.
The Tiger would not be the first joint Russian-Azerbaijani arms production. In 2010, Russia and Azerbaijan agreed a deal on the production of the modernized AK-74M Kalashnikov rifle under licence. The first rifles should be produced later this year.
Mammadov said that defence industry cooperation with the former Soviet republics, and especially with Russia, had the great advantage of no language barrier. He said that dealing with Westerners was a big problem for Azerbaijani industry.
"Of course, there aren't any problems talking about marketing but direct talks about production are very difficult," he told Arms-TASS.
Azerbaijan is also working closely in the defence sector with Belarus and Turkey. Belarusian company Belomo has helped to organize the production under licence in Azerbaijan of the P8-B3 grenade launcher with telescopic sight, Mammadov said.
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