YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—In what will be a further boost to their close defense ties, Armenia and Russia are to start jointly manufacturing weapons and other military equipment under an agreement that was approved by the Armenian government on Thursday.
The government said the draft agreement regulates “manufacturing and research cooperation” between Armenian and Russian defense companies. It commits them to supplying each other with equipment, assembly parts and other materials needed for the production, modernization and repair of various arms.
The agreement, which was drawn up shortly after Russia Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov’s September visit to Armenia, also stipulates that the jointly manufactured weaponry cannot be re-exported or transferred to third countries without the supplier’s permission.
Yerevan and Moscow had already agreed to step up cooperation between their defense industries within the framework of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Nikolay Bordyuzha, the CSTO secretary general, said in November last year that they are setting up joint ventures in Armenia for the “maintenance, repair and modernization of some types of weaponry.” He did not elaborate.
Also, Russia is supposed to provide “special military hardware” to the Armenian military in accordance with a Russian-Armenian defense accord signed more than two years ago. The deal extended the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia by 24 years, until 2044.
“Moscow signs such agreements only in cases where it is interested in concrete [mutually beneficial] cooperation,” Aleksandr Golts, a leading Russian defense analyst, said of the new agreement announced by Yerevan.
“So one can assume that with this agreement Armenia has not only expectations from Russia but probably also something to offer,” Golts told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian praised the domestic defense industry in January, saying that it can now cater for Armenia’s practically entire military arsenal.
Some of its output was demonstrated during a military parade in Yerevan in September 2011. That included unmanned military aircraft, flamethrowers and multiple grenade launchers. Armenia is also believed to manufacture bullets and other ammunition.