During the I Karabakh War of 1992-1994 both Armenia and Azerbaijan claimed lots of 'MiG-25' shot downs. But most of jets were either L-39s or Su-25s

During the I Karabakh War of 1992-1994 both Armenia and Azerbaijan claimed lots of ‘MiG-25’ shot downs. But most of jets were either L-39s or Su-25s

By Tom Cooper
Dec 7 2020
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During the I Karabakh War both sides were claiming a lots of ‘MiG-25s’ as shot down – almost all by MANPADS.

Are there any military history books about the I Karabakh War of 1992-1994? Perhaps some books about Armenian and Azerbaijani air forces?

Back then, there was no internet (at least not by modern-day measures), and it was extremely hard to get any kind of serious information. Later on… well, many things came in between, and I never found the time to ‘pursue’ related stories.

But, one I do recall caught lots of attention was about Azeri pilot Vaqif Gurbanov: he should’ve served with the former Soviet Air Force and then should have flown a Su-25 to Azerbaijan, in May 1992. Subsequently, several Russians and few other Azeris have joined him – flying MiG-21s, MiG-25s, and 2-3 Su-24 to Azerbaijan. An even larger number of crews operating Mi-24s followed, enabling Baku to found an air force. I also recall a story about three Su-17s acquired from Ukraine, together with a group of mercenary pilots… Gurbanov should’ve been shot down and killed in combat sometimes in June of the same year, though.

Around the same time, also an Armenian pilot hijacked a MiG-25PDS of the Soviet/Russian Air Force and defected to Armenia, but, generally, I do not recall any significant reporting about their operations – even though Yerevan should’ve acquired a sizeable number of Mi-2s, Mi-8s and Mi-24. On the contrary, Azeri MiG-25-pilots should’ve used even R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) air-to-air missiles to target Armenian tanks…

Another thing I do recall during that war was that both sides were claiming lots of ‘MiG-25s’ as shot down – almost all by MANPADS. Actually, most of jets should’ve been either L-39s or Su-25s (the latter two are relatively ‘similar’ as seen from the ground).

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During the I Karabakh War of 1992-1994 both Armenia and Azerbaijan claimed lots of 'MiG-25' shot downs. But most of jets were either L-39s or Su-25s

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Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper, from Austria, is a military-aviation journalist and historian. Following a career in a worldwide transportation business — in which, during his extensive travels in Europe and the Middle East, he established excellent contacts — he moved into writing. An earlier fascination with post-Second World War military aviation has narrowed to focus on smaller air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives of material. Concentrating primarily on air warfare that has previously received scant attention, he specializes in investigative research on little-known African and Arab air forces, as well as the Iranian Air Force. Cooper has published 21 books — including the unique Arab MiGs' series, which examines the deployment and service history of major Arab air forces in conflicts with Israel — as well as over 200 articles on related topics, providing a window into a number of previously unexamined yet fascinating conflicts and relevant developments.

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