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AZE parade 51On 26 June 2018 the Azerbaijan armed forces celebrated their 100th anniversary with a huge militray parade, Azərbaycan hərbi parad. AZE parade 50Aviagraphers were in situ to provide a review on its ever evolving military prowess.

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Let us start with the Azərbaycan Hərbi Hava Qüvvələri (Azerbaijan Air Force). First, the fast movers, as everbody seems to love the ubiquitous MiG-29 most. Only four participated in the display, one of their MiG-29UB bort 15 blue, broke off from the group to leave three continuing in formation...


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AZE parade 63...and the UB went on performing a solo above town itself! The MiG-29s are based at Nasosnaya Air Base, just West of Sumqayit. The base is dubbed "MIQ-29 Bazasi" (MiG-29 base), the unit's number plate used to be reported as 408 Fighter Squadron but we think it is just known as MIQ-29 Eskadrilyasi.AZE parade 22

Most abundant jet aircraft of the Air Force today is the Su-25 Grach.

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AZE parade 59AZE parade 57The number of aircraft on the roster does not match the tally quoted by various 'aviation observers' and official export records. We think that the Hücum Bazasi (attack base) on the outskirts of Kürdəmir (Kyurdamir) actually holds about 40 of them operated by the SU-25 Eskadrilyasi.

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Advanced training is, of course, done with the L-39. Also based at Kyurdamir, the fleet numbers around two dozen, mostly believed to be obtained from the Ukraine.

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AZE parade 62Recent years saw an enormous growth in the helicopter assets of the various branches of the armed forces. After the parade kick-off by two helicopters bearing the nation's flag, a couple of recently acquired Bell 412s passed by. The origin of these airframes is unknown. Two of the three Ka-32s on Air Force strength with 4-cu Eskadrilya were next in line. Starting their life as Ka-27 and left behind after the Russian vacated Qala Air Base East of Baku, they were substantially overhauled and redelivered as Ka-32S borts 142, 143, and 144 blue. Although they support naval operations, they are operated by the air force for practical reasons.

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The Mi-24 is very prolific, the Air Force operates a lot of different variants. This shot captures two Mi-24P, borts 102 and 105 white, and two Mi-24V borts 114 and 115 white. We do not know why these are painted black.

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AZE parade 56AZE parade 55More Air Force Mi-24s were seen forming the numeral '1' in the 1-0-0 figure that concluded the parade. These look like Mi-24V variants, possibly upgraded in the Ukraine. Two squadrons at Qala operate them, 1-ci Eskadrilya 'Skywolf', and 2-ci Eskadrilya 'Griffins'.

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Also, a huge amount of Mi-17 helicopters passed by. These Air Force ones are in a distinctive two tone brown and green camouflage. Not much is known about the Air Force's structure, the Mi-17s are believed to be operated by 3-cu Eskadrilya. Possibly they are also with the Mi-24 units 1-ci and 2-ci Eskadrilya.

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This unit is also based at Qala Air Base, East of Baku and is one of the many helicopter operating squadrons on that airfield.

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AZE parade 54Many branches of the armed forces exist, of these the Dövlət Sərhəd Xidməti (DSX), State Border Service is one of the expanding branches. The Border Guard can be regarded as army aviation. New modern facilities are spread around the country enabling the helicopter fleet to be hangered. So it is quite rare to see so many of them out and about.

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AZE parade 60DSX's assets are thought to include 24 dark green Mi-35M. Of these, no less than sixteen participated in the parade. They are based mainly at Qala and newly erected Tanriquqular Air Base and the unit is 1-ci Eskadrilya.