Azerbaijan signs deal to buy military transport planes from Ukraine's Antonov

By bne IntelliNews June 8, 2016

Azerbaijan will buy 10 military transport planes AN-178 from Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov, Ukrainian TV Channel 5 announced on June 7. The agreement between the Azerbaijani government and Antonov took a year of negotiations. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed. Baku expects to receive the first two planes "in the nearest future".

Azerbaijan's arming comes in response to the conflict with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. As tensions escalated into a full-fledged war in early April, concerns about Azerbaijan's arms imports from Russia and Israel have resurfaced. Between 2011 and 2015, Azerbaijan was the largest arms importer in Europe, ahead of the UK. Some 85% of its imports come from Russia. 

Other arms suppliers to Baku include Belarus and Turkey. In May, Armenians protested against the use of Russian arms against separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh, as Russia is Armenia's leading commercial and political partner and also supplies Armenia with armament.

The AN-178 has a capacity of 18 tonnes and can reach speeds of 850 km per hour and altitudes of 12 km. 

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