Armenia Announces ‘Significant’ Arms Acquisitions

The Russian-made Tochka-U missile system is one of Armenia's aquisitions

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The Armenian military on Monday reported “significant” arms acquisitions in 2012 and said it will continue to modernize its forces with precision weaponry in the coming years.

“At the beginning of this year we declared that we have acquired new rocket systems capable of neutralizing active [armor] protection of enemy tanks,” said Artsrun Hovannisian, the spokesman for Armenia’s Defense Ministry. “This is just one example new-generation precision-guided weapons.”

“Naturally, we do not declare some things immediately. But those acquisitions are significant and they will be unveiled little by little,” Hovannisian told a news conference.

“The focus remains on extremely precise means of firepower that have serious preemptive functions,” he said of the army’s plans for 2013. “It’s an ongoing process. You will have a chance to see all that later on.”

The mostly secret acquisitions stem from a five-year plan to modernize Armenia’s armed forces with long-range weapons and other hardware that was approved President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration two years ago. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said early this year that the plan is being successfully put into action. Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan likewise spoke of an on ongoing military buildup shortly afterwards.

Some of the long-range weapons possessed by Armenia were demonstrated for the first time during a military parade in Yerevan in September, 2011. Those included Russian-made Scud-B and Tochka-U missiles capable of hitting strategic targets deep inside Azerbaijani territory.

The Armenian military said in October this year that it has simulated missile strikes on military targets as well as oil and gas installations in Azerbaijan during major exercises held in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh throughout that month. It implied that those facilities will be struck in the event of a new Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

Azerbaijan condemned those threats and said its army is strong enough to protect Azerbaijani oil infrastructure and hit any target in Armenia. Over the past decade, Baku has spent billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues on a military buildup which it hopes will eventually enable it to win back Karabakh and other Armenian-controlled territories surrounding the disputed enclave.

The Armenian army also appears to have been reinforced with more advanced versions of Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. IMINT and Analysis, a U.S. defense newsletter using open-source satellite imagery, reported in October that such systems have been deployed in the last two years in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province adjacent to Karabakh. The online publication said their sophisticated surface-to-air missiles not only cover the entire Karabakh airspace but can also thwart air travel between Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave.

Incidentally, President Sarkisian visited a new air-defense base near the reported location of the S-300PS batteries in late October. Official Armenian sources reported no details of its weaponry.

Armenia is able to stay in an intensifying arms race with oil-rich Azerbaijan mainly because of close military ties with Russia that entitle it to receiving Russian weapons at discount prices or even free of charge. A new Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in August 2010 commits Moscow to helping Yerevan obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and special military hardware.”

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21 Comments

  1. MK said:

    Armenia must strengthen its air force capability with more offensive planes capable of hitting moving and strategic installations be in oil, gas, or other.

    • Ararat said:

      Defensive weapons are not enough for Armenia given our psychopathic and racial enemies not only denying the atrocities they committed against our defenseless nation but who are also bent on eliminating our existence as a nation. Armenia needs offensive weapons that will put the fear of God into our enemies’ hearts. Armenia needs nuclear weapons.

      Look at Pakistan which has nuclear weapons. What did the almighty USA do to Pakistan when they were not only giving safe passage to the Taliban but also sharing intelligence with them? Nothing. In fact, the US government gave the Pakistani government billions of taxpayer money in attempts to bribe them into very little cooperation.

      Armenia needs to acquire nuclear weapons and point them toward Ankara and Baku. God willing, we get to put them into action once we acquire them. We must speak to the Turks and pseudo-Turkish Axerbaijanis the language they understand very well, the language of brutal FORCE.

      • Random Armenian said:

        “God willing, we get to put them into action once we acquire them. ”

        Are you actually suggesting dropping nukes on Ankara and Baku?

  2. M.S.K. said:

    It is pride to all Armenians throughout the world that our fatherland is in a position to dismantle the oil fields and Azerbaijan itself in spite of western and super power who are rushing to help with sophisticated arms to infidels. Thanks to Russia for such a brotherly help to Armenia.

  3. Vahan Vanagan said:

    The Two Foundation Stones of the Armenian Nation are:

    1) Our strong army, to Maintain our 4000 years national existance, and Restore our Historical Frontiers.
    Սահման Քաջաց Զէնքն Իւրիաց

    2) Our Church, which is the faith and inspiration of our National Union.

    — In this matter, we have a long distance to cross to bring together the two entities ot our nation,
    the Diaspora Armenians and the motherland Armenians.

    The Diaspora Armenians, during the 70 years existance of Soviet Armenia had no break away from their Church and their Chritian faith, contrary to the Armenians in Motherland.

    SInce 10 years, the disorders created by Soviet Educated Ayatolla Karekin II of Etchmiadzin against the Diaspora Eclectic Organisations was distructive for our National Union.

    The Ayatolla Karekin II became unpopular in Armenia and Diaspora, and for the good of the nation his destitution will be benefic for the nation.
    Ayatolla Karekin II will not have the Vertu of neither of his two predecessors, Vazken I nor Karekin I.

    Vahan Vanagan

  4. AraK said:

    Good news. But what will happen if Armenia’s “rapprochement” with the west intensifies? I doubt the west will help Armenia militarily. Tough situation for Armenia. Already EU is forcing Armenia to “make up her mind” and be clear and concrete with her intentions…

  5. Kevork Hagopian said:

    As a proud Armenian, I would like to express my great thanks to the Russian government and President Putin. Russia is the only country in the world at this time that is helping Armenia with everything that is needed for defense. Without Russian military help Armenia will not stand a chance to against Turkey and Azerbaijan. Thank you Russia and Russian brothers and sisters. God bless Russia and save our beloved president V. Putin from any danger.

  6. Gary_S said:

    With Russia, lets take their oil rigs! Then, the world won’t give a crap about this f… up country.

  7. Vahe Balabanian said:

    This is a good step in building Armenia’s defense as a deterrent against Azerbeijan taking any rash action. I am also hopeful that NATO will hinder Turkey from aiding Azerbeijan in case of its attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.

  8. Satenik said:

    Well, Armenia has to defend itseld and its people against the aggresive government of Baku and anyone who dreams of disturbing the peace in Armenia!

  9. john said:

    I admire and honor our brave Armenian soldiers because they are the best of Hayastan but I am ashamed of the oligarchs in the government,
    Those brave soldiers endanger their lives and we must honor and respect their heroism because the are true Armenians unlike some of those worthless thug oligarchs.

  10. GB said:

    In this case the Sultan of Azer Baboons must ship large amount of free oil, same size of his nose, to Israelis, in order to get even with Armenian arsenal!!

  11. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Very Good !.

    Russia has understod Bouth the Tactical and Strategical Importance of Armenia for its own safety.

    God bless Armenia !.

    Arn.Sweden.

    • arto said:

      My friend, Russia has always understood this. The problem is getting some idiot Armenians to understand this and get their mind away from the so called “democratic and free” west which won’t even spit on Armenia if we are in trouble. Western money should not be allowed to poison Armenia’s society with their Soros funded NGOs and news agencies.

  12. john goncuian said:

    russia and iran is the only countries armenia can count on.armenia should support the corrupt aliev’s presidency while trying to imrove hersef economicly and militaryly

  13. hagop hagopian said:

    The Armenian Defence Force is in a great position .. i dont think there will be a war with Azerbaijan …Azerbaijan are just too scared that they might loose and there natural resources will be dust .. on top of that , the West will lose money , so theres no intrest there .. the Armenian Air Force needs new modern planes .. SU -25 are cool planes , but its 2013 now .. we should be looking at SU-27 OR SU-30 ..

  14. Vahan Vanagan said:

    SPACE TO RENT:

    I would like to rent a small space, close to the head of one of these POSTMAN RACKETS, directed to BAKU, to inscribe:

    “GREETINGS TO AZERBAIDJANI NOMADS
    FROM VAHAN VANAGAN”

    Ready to pay the STAMP TAX for the rented space.

    Vahan Vanagan

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