About 10 ships from the Russian and the Azerbaijani Navy will hold its first joint training in the Caspian Sea.
The joint training will be held in September 2015 and will focus on joint artillery strikes against air and maritime targets, assistance to wrecked ships and protection of international maritime security in the Caspian Sea.
The Caspian Sea Flotilla is the smallest of the Russian Navy. It is, however, the oldest Russian military flotilla and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner in 1945.
The Russian Caspian Sea Flotilla is comprised of 27 ships:
- 2 Gepard-class frigates, Tatarstan, Dagestan
- 3 Buyan-class corvettes, Astrakhan, Volgodonsk, Mahachkala
- Missile / Patrol boats
- Artillery boat
- 4 Gunboats Project 1204 Shmel Ak-209, Ak-223, Ak-201, Ak-248
- Landing ship
- 5 Serna-class landing boats
The joint training between Russia and Azerbaijan will most likely affect US-Azerbaijan relations. The United States signed agreements with the Azerbaijani Navy to supply them with advanced laser markmanship devices and systems. The United States also donated three motorboat and more agreements were signed for the modernization of the Azerbaijani Navy.
Russia will greatly benefit from having another partner conducting maritime security of the Caspian Sea. Iran also is operating in the region and tensions between both countries could enhance a Russian-Iranian rivalry in the Caspian Sea.
However, an agreement was signed in 2012 between the five presidents of the Caspian countries in 2010. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty stated that the agreement would promote cooperation in the Sea.
Known as the Security Cooperation Agreement, it commits Russia and the other littoral countries to cooperate on maritime security and on efforts to combat transnational threats like terrorism, organized crime, arms smuggling, illegal migration, and the drug trade.
The first joint drills between Russia and Azerbaijan will most likely bolster relations between both countries. It is possible that more joint drills will be conducted in the future.