Armenia Acquires Advanced Chinese Rockets

Chinese AR1A rockets

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia has acquired Chinese multiple-launch rocket systems with a firing range of up to 80 miles, a military source in Yerevan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source declined to specify the quantity of the AR1A systems obtained by the Armenian military and the dates of their delivery or give other details of the alleged acquisition.

The Armenian Defense Ministry, for its part, refused to confirm or refute the information. “Armenia’s armed forces are constantly supplied with new weapons and increase their combat readiness,” the ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “We have clear plans of arms acquisitions and are adhering to them.”

AR1A, which China first demonstrated in 2009, is a long-range artillery system designed to attack concentrations of troops, command centers and important ground targets. Military experts say that it has many technological similarities with the Russian Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems, one of the most destructive weapons of its kind. Smerch rockets can hit targets up to 90 kilometers (55 miles) away.

Eighteen Smerch systems are reportedly among the $1 billion worth of new offensive weapons that Russia began delivering to Azerbaijan earlier this year. Armenian politicians and pundits have singled out this weapon in their strong criticisms of the Russian arms sales to Baku. The latter also purchased a dozen Smerch systems from Ukraine in the mid-2000s.

The nearest equivalent to the Russian rockets that Armenia has been known to possess until now are Chinese-made WM-80 multiple-launch systems with a firing range of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles). The Armenian military is thought to have acquired them in the late 1990s.

Chinese-Armenian military ties appear to have deepened in the last few years. Beijing and Yerevan signed in January 2012 what the Armenian Defense Ministry called an “agreement on military and military-technical cooperation.”

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9 Comments

  1. From Russia Without Love said:

    Dear “Russia is the best” camp,

    So let me get this right. The USA who’s “Armenian lobby” is supposed to be less influential than Russia’s, worked with the right people in the US to stop offensive weapons sales to the terrorist country of Azerbaijan, but “our ally” happily delivered such weapons, which in case of a war will result in thousands Armenians dead?

    Sorry, but this latest development from Russia does not impress me one second, and all you “God Bless Russia” Armenians need to grow a spine, and condemn Russia and her dirty politics.

    If what Russia did was “OK” then the next time Israel sells weapons to its terrorist friend Azerbaijan, I don’t want to hear a single complaint from all of you. If “our ally and protector” is selling offensive weapons to the terrorist next door, then why can’t any other country? Heck maybe those oligarchs in Armenia should also start providing the terrorist next door weapons too, IF THEY AREN’T ALREADY!

    And all these ridiculous excuses like “its not what you buy it how you use it” blah blah blah make me sick, even if true, ARMENIANS WILL DIE AS A RESULT OF RUSSIA’S ACTIONS!!

    I am surprised Armenians everywhere are downplaying these events. Imagine if the US starts selling offensive weapons to Hamas or something. The Israelis would make sure heads would roll in the US, while the “Russia is great” bottom feeders of our nation sit around making excuses as if everything is normal. Get real!!

    • Vahe said:

      Honestly, your delusional. Why would they NOT sell Azerbaijan Billions of Dollars of Weapons ?
      Russia provides Armenia with all the weaponry needed to combat those AZ has received lately, for free or a discounted price. So there is no threat to Armenia by Russia doing arms deals with AZ. Armenia is playing a very dangerous game trying to board a sinking ship like the “european union” when it should be getting closer to Russia, considering Russia is the very reason for every aspect of our nations survival.
      What the F*ck has USA EVER done for Armenia/Karabakh ? It has only applied pressure on Armenia to give in to turkish demands, cut aid to Armenia, not recognize genocide, arms AZ and turkey.
      I feel sorry for Diaspora Armenians who are oblivious as to who the REAL enemies of Armenia are. Yes, turkish gov’t denies AG, but many people know it happened. Ever question who the Young Turks were ? Jewish, and as for ATAturd = jewish. Israel does not and will not accept our suffering because they played a MAJOR role in the AG. Also, rothschilds, jews, british and americans ALWAYS supported azeris, turks over Armenians because they knew if our hands remained on the oil in baku, we would completely take over….read about how the first people who owned oil in baku were Armenians and who drove them out. Usa, israel, raffi hovanissian, levon ter petrosyan, retarded diapora armenians who know nothing about geopolitics are more dangerous to Armenia/karabakh than any average turk or azeri.
      Armenia needs to fully embrace Russia in all ways, and to Iran as well…the REAL friends od Armenia.

  2. Gazzo said:

    Interesting developments. Now we say to the enemy we have superior technology to the Smerches they acquired from the Russians. ?

  3. Sokimag said:

    Why do we get weapons from China? Aren’t we supposed to know that chinese products are cheap? We should make our own weapons.

  4. Ara said:

    Remember Mamikonian has chineese roots. Also when Irak (Saddam Khusein) fought with Kuveit the only missile that reach the city and caused some damage to the Mall was Chineese because it was flying on a very low elevation and US radars could not capture it. I think chinese means of mass distructon like these and such are the best choice ( pricewise) to eluminate askiars and their equipment.

  5. Avetis said:

    This purchase would not have happened had Moscow been against it. I would not be surprised if Moscow made the deal happen. Our Russophobic fools need to remember that Israel, Ukraine and Turkey have been arming Baku to the tunes of many billions of dollars for many years. Had it not been for Russian arms and Russian protection, Armenia would have lost Artsakh – or worst.

    PS: Our Russophobic fools need to also realize that Washington indirectly (through “military contractors”) trains Azeri snipers (i.e. those who kill Armenians on the border).

  6. random armenian said:

    When will we learn from our mistakes?
    The country is facing major challenges and yet all we do bicker among ourselves.
    We’re a very small people and everyday we’re getting more marginalized while other nations
    are getting smarter, richer, more educated, creating better living conditions for their people.
    If current trends project into the future, we’ll get poorer, depopulating the country, technologically
    obsolete, and easy prey for our not so friendly neighbors. Most of our diaspora organizations are
    so preoccupied with the Genocide that we don’t even see the bleak future that’s imminent on us.
    We’ve learned how to hate the enemy but hardly did anything to improve ourselves.
    We neither subscribe to the Christian values of forgive and move on, nor to the Buddhist truth about the
    nature of things where we don’t have the power to change the past but certainly have the power to
    change ourselves.

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