Developments from Azerbaijan

    At the recent IDEF Istanbul exhibition held this past May, Azerbaijan had some interesting developments of various small arms on display. Interestingly there wasn’t any demonstration of their service rifle, the Tavor (similarly, it appears most of the military still has 74s while the Tavor is making its appearance in parades). Regardless, Jane’s has covered the Azerbaijan boot pretty well, and there are some more in depth photos of the small arms on a Pakistani defense forum. Something that really sticks out about all the small arms displayed is that much of the design is completely taken from other designs, such as the shape of the receiver on the anti-material rifle, to the sniper rifles that seem to take direct inspiration from the SCAR H and the AI PSR stock. In addition, either FAB Defense is getting the upper hand, or whomever the designer who copied FAB Defense is getting lucky, as the pistol grip on every single firearm (sans Grenade Launcher) is similar to FAB Defense’s designs, in addition to the buttstock on the light machine gun. From Jane’s-

    The Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan (MODAR) debuted a wide range of new firearms at the IDEF defence exhibition in Istanbul. These included: EM-14 5.56 mm assault rifle, 7.62 mm Yirtiji semi-automatic sniper rifle, and the 40 mm RBG/M11 revolver grenade launcher.

    The EM-14 is a derivative of the Khazri rifle that has been built in Azerbaijan since MODAR purchased a license from Izhmash in 2011 to locally build a modified version of the 5.45 mm AK-74M. Compared with the earlier Khazri, the EM-14 is equipped with a longer forearm with a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail and an M4-type telescopic buttstock. Most significantly though, the new rifle is chambered in the NATO 5.56×45 mm cartridge rather than the Russian 5.45×39 mm cartridge.

    Azerbaijan has also tested and manufactured a new line of translucent polymer 30-round magazines for the AK-74 and AK/AKM to assure Azerbaijani self-reliance in this field.

    A new 7.62x54R mm semi-automatic sniper rifle called Yirtiji was also shown for the first time at IDEF. The rifle, intended to replace the Russian SVD rifle, is currently undergoing military trials. The weapon features a 620 mm barrel, weighs 6 kg, and is fed from a 10-round Dragunov steel magazine. The Yirtiji rifle features a M16-style bolt catch lever and is ambidextrous. Safety switches are located on both sides of receiver, while the shooter can switch the position of the charging handle from left to right.

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    Unmentioned, but this is the 7.62x54R UP universal machine gun. Interesting to see what appears to be CAA accessories or at least copies of them on the small arms. As a prime example, the grip in on this PKM looks oddly similar to the G47 pistol grip from CAA. The guns seem to be spray painted tan for the show as well, you can see flakes of it coming off in certain parts. Why they left all the plastic parts unpainted but the metal front sight as well is beyond me. 

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    The 14.5 mm upgraded Istigal- T semi automatic sniper rifle. This looks like a Barrett, DP28, and CheyTac had an awkward unwanted child, from the jacket vents on the barrel jacket/iron front sight, to the shape of the receiver, the position of the carrying handle, and the magazine. Again, take a look at that pistol grip. The scope is an AK type, and I’m not too sure how well that’ll improve accuracy, especially at the ranges that this rifle would be fired out to, 1000 meters or further. 

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    The partially translucent magazine is very innovative in that not many armies (UK, Germany, etc) ever adopt something like this in full scale. But these aren’t actually being issued out yet, so we’ll wait and see how that goes for them. The 7.62 HP on the other hand has the copied pistol grip and FAB Defense buttstock but with a grip pod for a bipod, which must clearly be for display because they tend to be very ineffective on a light machine gun. It does seem like a very valid attempt to shrink the full size PKM to something similar to an M60E4 in size comparison. 

    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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