Baku has initiated large-scale weapons readiness efforts in Nakhchivan

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Baku has initiated large-scale weapons readiness efforts in Nakhchivan, said the expert of the EDAM analytical center, professor Can Kasapoglu, in an article published on the website of the Jamestown Foundation analytical center

“Baku has initiated large-scale weapons readiness efforts in Nakhchivan. The official YouTube channel of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense features a video showing Turkish-manufactured multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) stationed in the strategic western exclave (YouTube, May 2). Of these arms, the 300-millimeter TRG-300 Kaplan (Tiger) deserves special attention, particularly in light of the delicate regional military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he noted.

According to him, manufactured by Roketsan, the TRG-300 Tiger is the latest variant of Turkey’s 300-millimeter-class MLRS. 

“It fires a fairly accurate rocket with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than ten meters thanks to its global positioning (GPS)- and inertial navigation system (INS)-supported guidance features. With a 105-kilogram warhead configuration, the Tiger has up to 120 kilometers of range and effective radius of some 70 meters; while the heavier, 190-kilogram warhead option (Block-2) has a range of 90 kilometers and around 80 meters of effective radius, prioritizing overwhelming firepower. Both warhead configurations enable high-explosive and steel ball variations,” he wrote. “The TRG-300 Tiger is designed to annihilate a broad array of critical target types, including troop concentrations, high-importance facilities, command-and-control (C2) and radar sites, as well as artillery and air-defense systems. During the February 2020 escalation with the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib, the Turkish military deployed the Tiger MLRS to the front lines.”

According to the Turkish expert, the deployment of these weapons in Nakhchivan offers “Azerbaijani defense planners some valuable opportunities for outflanking their regional rival.” 

“Notably, in December 2013, President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree establishing the Special Combined Arms Army in the strategic western exclave. Moreover, the new combat formation has close ties with Turkey’s formidable 3rd Field Army, overlooking the Caucasus frontier.”

Thus, the Turkish expert writes, the Azerbaijani units can launch an attack on the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, in order to distract the Armenian forces, “or it might cut into the critical lines of communications between Armenia and the Armenian forces in Karabakh.”

 “In tandem with the abovementioned scenarios, the heavy firepower delivered by Turkey’s combat-proven MLRS promises to be a gamechanger when it comes to Azerbaijani-Armenian correlation of forces along the Nakhchivan front. Available Azerbaijani military writings attach utmost importance to deep-strike capabilities offered by rocket-artillery systems”

“Meanwhile, the bilateral defense ties between Ankara and Baku have scaled-up to a new level over the past decade, becoming a genuine military alliance, thanks to the 2010 Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Mutual Support (ASPMS),” he noted. “Overall, Turkey and Azerbaijan have managed to further the notion of “two states, one nation” beyond only rhetoric. And the deployment of 300-millimeter TRG-300 Tiger heavy MLRS units to Nakhchivan looms large as yet another manifestation of their military alliance, which had already visibly paid off for Baku in the spring 2016 clashes.”

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