First sighting of enhanced Azeri armour

The first indigenously upgraded BTR-70M wheeled armoured personnel carriers were displayed in Azerbaijan in March. The vehicles were modernised at Jihazgayirma Instrument Construction Plant in Baku in co-operation with overseas partners.

One of the BTR-70M vehicles featured the new Simsek (‘Lightning’) one-man turret, understood to be armed with a 23 mm ZU-23 or 30 mm 2A42 cannon. The turret was developed in partnership with South Africa’s Emerging World Technologies (EWT), part of the Virleo Group based in Pretoria.

With the exception of the turret, externally the basic upgrade does not differ from the original BTR-70 as the main focus is placed on the power plant and transmission, with an aim to increase mobility and survivability.

Covernomics understands that the Simsek is a variant of EWT’s Predator II light compact turret, which was developed for the Ministry of Defence Industry of the Azerbaijan Republic (MODIAR). The Simsek turret will be manufactured in one of MODIAR’s factories for Azerbaijan’s armed forces as well as potential export customers.