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Armenian Armed Forces
Հայաստանի Զինված Ուժեր
Armmil zinanshan.jpg
Emblem of the Armenian Armed Forces
Service branches Armenian Army
Armenian Air Force
Armenian Air Defense
Armenian Border Guard
Headquarters Yerevan
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief President Serzh Sargsyan
Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan
Chief of staff Colonel-General Youri Khachatrov
Manpower
Military age 18
Conscription 24 months
Available for
military service
722,836 males, age 15–49,
795,084 females, age 15–49
Fit for
military service
551,938 males, age 15–49,
656,493 females, age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
31,774 males,
31,182 females
Active personnel 43,641 (Army 40,421, Air Force 3,220)[1]
Reserve personnel Some mobilisable reserves reported[1]
Deployed personnel  Kosovo - 70

 Afghanistan - 40 [2]

Expenditures
Budget $300 million [3]
Percent of GDP  ?% (2010)
Industry
Foreign suppliers  Russia
 China
 United States
 Greece
France France [4]
Related articles
History Military history of Armenia

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia represents the Army, Air Force, Air Defense, and Border Guard. It was partially formed out of the former Soviet Army forces stationed in the Armenian SSR (parts of the Transcaucasian Military District). Being a landlocked country, Armenia has no navy.

The Commander-in-Chief of the military is the President of Armenia, currently Serzh Sargsyan. The Ministry of Defense is in charge of political leadership, currently headed by Seyran Ohanian, while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff, who is currently Lieutenant-General Yuri Khatchaturov. Armenia established a Ministry of Defense on January 28, 1992. Border guards subject to the Ministry patrol Armenia's borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan, while Russian troops continue to monitor its borders with Iran and Turkey. Since 1992, Armenia has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which acts as another deterrent to Azeri military intervention over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was ratified by the Armenian parliament in July 1992. The treaty establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of military equipment, such as tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, and combat helicopters, and provides for the destruction of weaponry in excess of those limits. Armenian officials have consistently expressed determination to comply with its provisions and thus Armenia has provided data on armaments as required under the CFE Treaty. Despite this, Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of diverting a large part of its military forces to Nagorno-Karabakh and thus circumventing these international regulations. Armenia is not a significant exporter of conventional weapons, but it has provided support, including material, to the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Contents

Overview

Armenian forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh war

In March 1993, Armenia signed the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention, which calls for the eventual elimination of chemical weapons. Armenia acceded to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state in July 1993. The U.S. and other Western governments have discussed efforts to establish effective nuclear export control systems with Armenia and expressed satisfaction with Armenia's full cooperation. In 2004 Armenia sent 46 non-combat troops to Iraq, which included bomb-disposal experts, doctors, and transport specialists.

General Staff

The Armenian Armed Forces are Headquartered in Yerevan, where most of the general staff is based. Currently headed by Chief of Staff General Seyran Ohanian, the General Staff is responsible for operational command of the Armenian Military and its three major branches.

Coat of arms of Armenia.svg
  • Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan - Defense Minister
  • Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov
  • Colonel-General Mikael Harutyunyan - Chief Military Inspector and Presidential Advisor
  • Colonel-General Gurgen Daribaltayan
  • Colonel-General Harut Kassabian - Commader of Capital Guard
  • Lieutenant-General Aghik Myurzabekyan
  • Lieutenant-General Arthur Aghabekyan
  • Lieutenant-General Gurgen Melkonyan
  • Lieutenant-General Roland Kereshyan

Army

Snipers during a field exercise in 2004

The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported in 2007 that the Armenian Army had 102 T-72s and 8 T-54s in service.[1] Also in service were 80 BMP-1, 7 BMP-1K, 5 BMP-2, and 12 BRM-1K infantry fighting vehicles. Wheeled APCs reported included 11 BTR-60s, 100 BTR-60 'look-a-likes' (a CFE equipment category), 21 BTR-70s, 4 BTR-80s and a number of BRDM-2 scout vehicles.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia has followed a policy of developing its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and mobile military. In 2000, Centre for International Studies and Research reported that the Armenian Army has the most combat capability of the three Caucasian countries' armies (the other two being Georgia and Azerbaijan).[5]

Armenia's military is presently reducing, having had its budget recently reduced by 20 percent.[3] Its active forces now numbers 10,357 soldiers, including 30,634 conscripts (total 40,421)[1] On January 25, 2010, the Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said that 48% of students in Armenia avoid army service for different reasons.[6]

The Army is functionally divided into Active and Reserve Forces. Their main functions include deterrence, defense, peace support and crisis management, humanitarian and rescue missions, as well as social functions within Armenian society.

The Active Forces mainly have peacekeeping and defensive duties, and are further divided into Deployment Forces, Immediate Reaction, and Main Defense Forces. The Reserve Forces consists of Enhancement Forces, Territorial Defense Forces, and Training Grounds. They deal with planning and reservist preparation, armaments and equipment storage, training of formations for active forces rotation or increase in personnel.

During peacetime the Army maintains permanent combat and mobilization readiness. They become part of multinational military formations in compliance with international treaties Armenia is a signatory to, participate in the preparation of the population, the national economy and the maintenance of wartime reserves and the infrastructure of the country for defense.

In times of crisis the Army's main tasks relate to participation in operations countering terrorist activities and defense of strategic facilities (such as nuclear power plants and major industrial facilities), assisting the security forces in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal armaments traffic and international terrorism.

In case of low- and medium-intensity military conflict the Active Forces that are part of the Army participate in carrying out the initial tasks for the defense of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. In case of a high intensity conflict the Land Forces, together with the Air Force, Air Defense and Border Guards, form the defense group of the Armenian Armed Forces aiming at countering aggression and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Experiments in developing small arms have been undertaken in Armenia, producing the K-3 assault rifle, but Jane's Infantry Weapons estimates that the programme has ceased, and the rifle is not in widespread service with the army.[7]

Air Force

Armenian Air Force Su-25 attack aircraft fly in V formation over Yerevan's Republican Square

Roundel of Armenia.svg The Armenian Air Force relies upon the 18 MiG-29s of the Russian 102nd Military Base at Gyumri, its own smaller fleet of 15 Su-25 ground attack planes, a single MiG-25 jet fighter and twelve Mi-24 gunship helicopters (out of a total of 35) for the defense of Armenian airspace. The Armenian Air Force also has two Il-76 cargo planes for the transport of soldiers and materials.

According to UN webpage, Disarmament section, in September 2005 the Armenian Air Force had acquired 10 Su-25 ground attack planes from Slovakia.

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Air Defense

Armenian anti-aircraft defense consists of an anti-aircraft missile brigade and two regiments armed with 100 anti-aircraft complexes of various models and modifications, including the SA-8, M79 Osa, Krug, S-75, S-125, SA-7 and Russian operated S-300 at the Russian 102nd Military Base. There are also 24 Scud ballistic missiles with eight launchers. Numerical strength is estimated at about 3,000 servicemen, with plans for further expansion. The Armenian Air Defense is the anti-aircraft branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia. It was equipped and organized as part of the military reform program of Ter-Grigoriants.

Missiles

Military of Karabakh

Armenian T-72s of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army

In addition to forces mentioned above, there are 20,000 active soldiers defending Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory which seceded from Azerbaijan in 1991 and is now a de-facto democratic state. They are well trained and well equipped with the latest in military software and hardware.[8] Karabakh army's heavy military hardware includes: 316 tanks, 324 armored vehicles, 322 artillery pieces of calibers over 122 mm, 44 multiple rocket launchers, and a new anti-aircraft defense system.[9] In addition, the NKR Defence Army maintains a small air-force of 2 Su-25s, 5 Mi-24s and 5 other helicopters.

Russia

Russia has a military base in Armenia which is the Russian 102nd Military Base. The military alliance of the two nations and, in particular, the presence of Russian troops on Armenian soil has been a key element of Armenia's national security doctrine since Armenia gained independence in 1991.[10] Russia stations an estimated 5,000 soldiers of all types in Armenia, including 3,000 officially reported to be based at the 102nd Military Base located in Gyumri. In 1997, the two countries signed a far-reaching friendship treaty, which calls for mutual assistance in the event of a military threat to either party and allows Russian border guards to patrol Armenia's frontiers with Turkey and Iran. Until recently, in early 2005, the 102nd Military Base had 74 tanks, 17 battle infantry vehicles, 148 armored personnel carriers, 84 artillery pieces, 18 Mig-29 fighters and several batteries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. In the last eighteen months, however, a great deal of military hardware was moved to the 102nd Base from the Russian military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki, Georgia. Russia is Armenia's closest ally and the only country that has a military base stationed in the country. Since 1992 Armenia is in a military alliance with Russia and 5 other ex-soviet countries called the CSTO. Russia also supplies weapons at the relatively lower prices of the Russian domestic market as part of a collective security agreement since January 2004.[11]

According to the unconfirmed allegations by the Azeri media, Russia has supplied $1 billion worth of arms and ammunitions to Armenia in 1996; and handed over an additional $800 million worth of arms to Armenia in 2008-2009. According to AzerNews, the weapons in this latest transfer include 21 tanks, 12 armored vehicles, five other battle machines, a great number of rocket launchers, over 1,050 cases of grenades, nearly 7,900 types of ammunition, 120 grenade launchers, over 4,000 sub-machine guns, TNT fuses, mines of various types, 14 mine-launchers, 9 Grad launchers, five canons, and other weapons.[12]

Military training

Officer training is another sphere of Russian-Armenian military cooperation. In the first years of sovereignty when Armenia lacked a military educational establishment of its own, officers of its army were trained in Russia. Even now when Armenia has a military college on its own territory, the Armenian officer corps honors the tradition and is trained at Russian military educational establishments. Currently, 600 Armenian servicemen are being trained in Russia. In Armenia as of 1997, the training was conducted by the "In the name of Marshal Bagramyan" Training Brigade.[13]

Future cooperation

At the first meeting of the joint Russian-Armenian government panel for military-technical cooperation that took place during autumn 2005, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov reported that, Russian factories will participate in the Armenian program of military modernization, and that Russia is prepared to supply the necessary spare parts and equipment. Yerevan and Moscow have further plans to develop closer ties.

In step with this, Armenia and Russia agreed to work together in exporting weapons and other military equipment to third countries, which was signed by Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and a visiting senior Russian official, Konstantin Biryulin, during a meeting of a Russian-Armenian inter-governmental commission on bilateral military-technical cooperation, in December 2009. The agreement envisages the two countries' interaction in exporting military production to third countries, which will help to strengthen the armed forces of the two states, and further cement the already close Russian-Armenian military cooperation.[10]

CSTO

On October 7, 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, signed a charter in Tashkent, founding the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) (Russian: Организация Договора о Коллективной Безопасности (ОДКБ~ODKB)) or simply Ташкентский договор (The Tashkent Treaty). Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed secretary general of the new organisation. On 23 June 2006, Uzbekistan became a full participant in the CSTO and its membership was formally ratified by its parliament on 28 March 2008.[14] Furthermore, the CSTO is an observer organisation at the United Nations General Assembly.

The charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states, while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all. To this end, the CSTO holds yearly military command exercises for the CSTO nations to have an opportunity to improve inter-organisation cooperation. The largest-scale CSTO military exercise held, to date, were the "Rubezh 2008" exercises hosted in Armenia where a combined total of 4,000 troops from all 7 constituent CSTO member countries conducted operative, strategic, and tactical training with an emphasis towards furthering the efficiency of the collective security element of the CSTO partnership.[15]

The CSTO employs a "rotating presidency" system in which the country leading the CSTO alternates every year. Currently, Belarus holds the CSTO presidency.

The Ministry of Defense of Armenia has repeatedly stated that it would expect direct military assistance from the CSTO in case war with Azerbaijan resumes, as recently as December 2009, Defense Minister Ohanyan made the same statement. According to the Armenian website Asbarez, in August, 2009, Nikolay Bordyuzha, the CSTO's secretary-general, confirmed that official Yerevan can count on such support.[10]

Collective Rapid Reaction Force

On February 4, 2009, an agreement to create the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (KSOR) was reached by five of the seven members, with plans finalized on June 14, 2009. The force is intended to be used to repulse military aggression, conduct anti-terrorist operations, fight transnational crime and drug trafficking, and neutralize the effects of natural disasters. Belarus and Uzbekistan initially refrained from signing on to the agreement; Belarus because of a trade dispute with Russia, and Uzbekistan due to general concerns. Belarus signed the agreement in October 2009, while Uzbekistan has yet to sign it.[16][17]

NATO

Armenia participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PiP) program and it is in a NATO organization called Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Armenia is in the process of implementation of Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs), which is a program for those countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO. Cooperative Best Effort exercise (the first where Russia was represented) was run on Armenian territory in 2003.

Greece

Greece is Armenia's closest ally in NATO and the two cooperate on multiple issues, thus a number of Armenian officers are trained in Greece every year, and military aid/material assistance has been provided to Armenia. In 2003, the two countries signed a military cooperation accord, under which Greece will increase the number of Armenian servicemen trained at the military and military-medical academies in Athens.

In February 2003, Armenia sent 34 peace keepers to Kosovo where they became part of the Greek contingent. Officials in Yerevan have said the Armenian military plans to substantially increase the size of its peace-keeping detachment and counts on Greek assistance to the effort. In June 2008, Armenia sent 72 peacekeepers to Kosovo for a total of 106 peacekeepers.

Baltic States

Lithuania has been sharing experience and providing consultations to the Armenian Defense Ministry in the field of democratic control of armed forces, military and defense concepts and public relations since 2002. Started in 2004, Armenian officers have been invited to study at the Lithuanian War Academy and the Baltic Defense College in Tartu, Estonia. Lithuania covers all study expenditures. In early 2007, two Armenian officers for the first time took part in a Baltic lead international exercise, Amber Hope, which was held in Lithuania.[18]

United States

The United States has been steadily upping its military clout in the region. In early 2003, the Pentagon announced several major military programs in the Caucasus. Washington's military aid to Armenia in 2005 amounted to $5 million, and in April 2004, the two sides signed a military-technical cooperation accord, which some American military analysts believe implies the use of Armenian airfields by the U.S. Air Force in the War on Terror. In late 2004, Armenia deployed a unit of 46 soldiers, which included a logistic, medical and support soldiers to Iraq in support of the American-led Coalition. And in 2005, the United States allocated $7 million to modernize the military communications of the Armenian Armed Forces.

Peacekeeping operations

Currently Armenia is involved in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. There are also debates within the government to send peacekeepers to Lebanon since there are a large number of Armenians living there.

Kosovo

An Armenian patrol maintaining a checkpoint in Serbian province of Kosovo.

There are currently 70 Armenian soldiers serving in Kosovo as peacekeepers.

Armenia joined the Kosovo Force in Kosovo in 2004. Armenian "blue helmets" serve within the Greek Army battalion. The relevant memorandum was signed on September 3, 2003 in Yerevan and ratified by the Armenian Parliament on December 13, 2003. The sixth deployment of Armenian peacekeepers departed for Kosovo on November 14, 2006.[19] In 2008, the Armenian National Assembly voted unanimously to double the peacekeeping force in Kosovo by sending an extra 34 peacekeepers to the region, increasing the total number of peacekeepers in the region to 68.[20] Artur Aghabekian, chairman of the Armenian parliament's committee on defense and security, cited the need to double the forces to help Kosovo achieve full international recognition adding that that would set an important precedent for the full recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[21]

Iraq

After the end of the invasion of Iraq, Armenia deployed a unit of 46 peacekeepers under Polish command. Armenian peacekeepers were based in Al-Kut, 62 miles from the capital of Baghdad.[22] On July 23, 2006 the fourth shift of Armenian peacekeepers departed for Iraq. The shift included 3 staff commanders, 2 medical officers, 10 combat engineers and 31 drivers. Throughout the length of the deployment, there was one Armenian wounded and no deaths. The Armenian government extended the small troop presence in Iraq by one year at the end of 2005 and 2006.[23][24] On October 7, 2008, Armenia withdrew its contingent of 46 peacekeepers. This coincided with the withdrawal of the Polish contingent in Iraq.[25]

Afghanistan

Currently, Armenia deployed 40 soldiers to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). They are serving under German command protecting an airport in Konduz.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d IISS (2007). The Military Balance 2007. London: Routledge for the IISS. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-85743-437-8. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.rferl.org/content/Armenian_Parliament_Endorses_Troop_Deployment_To_Afghanistan/1898715.html
  3. ^ a b ARMENIA TO CUT ITS BUDGET NEXT YEAR DESPITE EXPECTED ECONOMIC RECOVERY
  4. ^ http://www.mil.am/eng/?page=2&p=0&id=1185&y=2010&m=02&d=12
  5. ^ Robert Fairbanks, Public and private armies in the Caucasus, Sciences Po, November 2000
  6. ^ 48% of Armenian students avoid army service
  7. ^ http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Infantry-Weapons/K-3-5-45 mm-assault-rifle-Armenia.html
  8. ^ C. W. Blandy, Azerbaijan: Is War Over Nagornyy Karabakh a Realistic Option?, Advanced Research and Assessment Group, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Caucasus Series 08/17, 2008, p.16
  9. ^ DeRouen, Karl and Uk Heo (eds.) Civil Wars of the World: Major Conflicts since World War II. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2007, p. 151.
  10. ^ a b c http://www.asbarez.com/2009/12/17/armenia-russia-sign-arms-export-deal-2/
  11. ^ "Russian supply". http://newsfromrussia.com/main/2003/11/12/51161.html. Retrieved 2006-03-12. 
  12. ^ AzerNews Russia `donates` $800m arms to Armenia 14-01-2009
  13. ^ Ministry Of Defence of The Republic Of Armenia | Official Web Site
  14. ^ http://www.eurasianhome.org
  15. ^ http://www.pims.org/news/2008/08/06/rubezh-2008-the-first-large-scale-csto-military-exercise
  16. ^ http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090204/119984654.html
  17. ^ With Russian Prodding, CSTO Begins Taking Shape
  18. ^ Lithuanian Defense Minister Going To Armenia
  19. ^ "Armenia to deploy more soldiers to Kosovo". http://www.serbianna.com/news/2006/02761.shtml. Retrieved 2006-03-12. 
  20. ^ Armenia to double its peacekeepers' contingent in Kosovo
  21. ^ Armenia To Send More Troops To Kosovo
  22. ^ "Armenia's third contingent of peacekeepers now in Iraq". http://news.monstersandcritics.com/intelandterror/article_1089436.php/Armenias_third_contingent_of_peacekeepers_now_in_Iraq. Retrieved 2006-03-12. 
  23. ^ "Armenian defense minister to visit Iraq as Armenia to extend the small troop presence". The Associated Press. 2006-11-13. http://library.aua.am/library/news/archive/2006_11-14.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  24. ^ "ARMENIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO STAY AN EXTRA YEAR IN IRAQ". AZG Armenian Daily. 06/12/2005. http://www.azg.am/?lang=EN&num=2005120601. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  25. ^ Armenian troops pull out of Iraq: US military

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