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 28 January 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.
Under the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, in 2001 Armenia declared 102 T-72 tanks, 72 heavy howitzers and 204 armoured vehicles (most of them infantry fighting vehicles and Armoured personnel carriers). With respect to military hardware the Treaty on Conventional Arms in Europe does not apply to, Armenia has up to 700 armoured vehicles. Its artillery comprises 225 pieces of 122 mm and larger calibers, including 50 multiple rocket launchers.
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. The armed forces of Armenia are seen as the most powerful of the three Caucasian countries (the other two being Georgia and Azerbaijan) by leading military figures both in Russia and the West.
Armenia's Military is presently expanding , having had its budget recently augmented by 10 percent. Its active forces now number about 60,000 soldiers, with an additional reserve of 32,000, and a "reserve of the reserve" of 350,000 troops. Armenia is prepared to mobilize every able-bodied man between the age of 15 and 49, with military preparedness most of all focused on potential attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
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 military conflict of high intensity 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 protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.
The Armenian Air Force relies upon the 30 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Armenia joined the peacekeeping activities in Kosovo in 2004. Armenian "blue helmets" serve within the Greek battalion. The relevant memorandum was signed on September 3, 2003 in Yerevan and ratified by the Armenian Parliament December 13, 2003. The 6th shift of Armenian peacekeepers departed for Kosovo on November 14, 2006. 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. Artur Aghabekian, chairman of the Armenian parliament’s committee on defense and security, cited the need to double the forces in order to help Kosovo achieve full international recognition adding that that would set an important precedent for the full recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
New Publication on Turkish Military Assistance to Azerbaijan and Foreign Mercenaries during the Karabagh War; Intriguing facts contained in book by Hayk Demoyan
Dec 13, 2003; Armenian Reporter, The 12-13-2003 The book by the Armenian historian Hayk Demoyan titled Karabagh Drama -Hidden Acts (Yerevan,...