Military Aviation

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 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).

Check out Helion & Company website for books featuring interesting stories written by The Aviation Geek Club contributor Tom Cooper.

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in Middle Eastern, African and Asian air forces. As well as authoring and co-authoring 560 books and over 1,000 articles, he has co-authored the Arab MiGs book series – a six-volume, in-depth analysis of the Arab air forces at war with Israel, in the 1955–73 period. Cooper has been working as editor of the five @War series since 2017.

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