Military of Azerbaijan - Overview

Overview

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has been trying to further develop its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and mobile military. Azerbaijan has been undergoing extensive modernization and capacity expanding programs, with the military budget increasing from around $300 million in 2005 to $2.46 billion in 2009. The total armed forces number 56,840 men in the land forces, 7,900 men in the air force and air defence force, and 2,200 men in the navy. There are also 19,500 personnel in the National Guard, State Border Service, and Internal Troops. In addition, there are 300,000 former service personnel who have had military service in the last 15 years. The military hardware of Azerbaijan consists of 220 main battle tanks, an additional 162 T-80's were acquired between 2005 and 2010, 595 armored combat vehicles and 270 artillery systems. The air force has about 106 aircraft and 35 helicopters.

Azerbaijan has acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state. Azerbaijan participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace. Azerbaijan joined the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq in 2003. It sent 150 troops to Iraq, and later troops to Kosovo. Azeri troops are still serving in Afghanistan.

Despite the rise in Azerbaijan's defence budget, which now doubles Armenia's entire state budget, the armed forces were assessed in 2008 as not having a high state of battle readiness and being ill-prepared for wide scale combat operations.

Today 'National Hero of Azerbaijan' is the highest national title in the country, awarded for outstanding services of national importance to Azerbaijan in defense, as well as other deeds in other spheres.

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