Azerbaijan’s Prototype 23mm Anti-Material Rifle

    Recent media shared on a pro-Azeri Armed Forces group called Polygon Azerbaijan has provided details on an anti-material rifle that has been in development by the Azeri Ministry of Defense Industry since at least 2009. In 2009 the Azerbaijan Minister of Defense Industry Yaver Jamalov was quoted as saying his country was going to produce not only a 23x115mm anti-material rifle but also a 30mm version as well by the years of 2010-2011, based on the previous 14.5mm Istiglal anti-material rifle design. However, there doesn’t appear to be a rifle that the government could produce, until 2012 when the same minister mentioned production would begin in 2013. Again, we have another news article this month where the same minister is now saying the production will be in coordination with Turkey on a 23mm rifle. That article hinted at a Turkish entity, Aselsan being involved, which makes sense because Aselsan is already engaged in international production with Kazakstan.

    Two Russian language source articles have taken a cursory look at examining the 23mm, one being published on TopWar.Ru, and the other on an Azeri site Haqqin.az. In addition, the pro-Azeri group Polygon Azerbaijan has also published a critique of the weapon system. Initially, reports were that it was chambered for the 23x152Bmm cartridge, but was then later corrected to the 23x115mm cartridge, both specifically designed for autocannons used in an anti-aircraft role and mounted on close air support aircraft. By looking at the photographs provided, it appears that this is a manually operated bolt action design. It appears to be a single shot rifle, in addition, it might have a traveling barrel to help mitigate the recoil. It has a monster compensator and probably weighs in excess of 20 pounds. It also has a bipod and carrying handle. Although it could possibly be man-portable, it would seem like this design is bound to a stationary position, most likely on the contentious Armenian-Azeri border region. The purpose of the rifle is also most likely designed to pierce through lightly skinned armored vehicles at long range. According to some sources, we should be seeing more of the rifle at the September ADEX 2018 convention, being held in Azerbaijan.

    Many thanks go to Hrachya for translating the Russian sources on this design!

    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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