Azerbaijani Defense Minister Yaver Jamalov has announced this week plans to export 100 unmanned military aircraft to a currently unnamed NATO country as part of a new contract undertaken at a local Azerbaijani-Israeli factory.
The announcement was made a few days after Azerbaijan held its first international arms trade show, ADEX, which was hosted in Baku last week.
News of the drone deal comes after Azerbaijani authorities announced plans to create a self-reliant arms industry, a move which prompted the planning of last week’s arms-trade convention.
Oil-rich Azerbaijan has increased its military spending hugely over the past few years and now looks to begin exporting arms to other countries rather than relying on richer countries to supply its military. It is believed that Azerbaijan has spent billions over dollars under the rule of their current president purchasing mostly Russian-made military equipment for its armed forces.
News of the contract indicates the now-growing power of Azerbaijan’s military industry, something which is likely to worry neighboring Armenia, who rely heavily on foreign arms supplies and whose military budget is dwarfed by that of the Azerbaijani government’s.