Armenian Army

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Army of the Republic of Armenia
Հայաստանի Հանրապետության բանակ
Army Armenia.jpg
Active January 28, 1992 – Present
Country Republic of Armenia
Type Army
Role Ground warfare
Size 45,850 (including 19,950 professional and 25,900 conscripts)[1]
Engagements Nagorno-Karabakh War
Peacekeeping roles in Kosovo and Afghanistan
Commanders
Notable
commanders
-Vazgen Sargsyan
-Arkady Ter-Tatevosyan

The Armenian Army (Armenian: Հայկական բանակ) is the largest branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia and consists of the ground forces responsible for the country's land-based operations. It was established in conjunction with the other components of Armenia's military on January 28, 1992, several months after the republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union.[2] The army's first head was the former deputy commander-in-chief of the main staff of the Soviet Ground Forces, Norat Ter-Grigoryants.[3]

Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Armenia has committed many elements of the army to help bolster the defense and defend the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh from a possible renewal of hostilities with neighboring Azerbaijan. Jane's World Armies reports that both conscripts and officers from Armenia are routinely sent for duty to Karabakh, often posted to the frontline between Karabakh Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.[4]

History[edit]

The Armenian army's history is described to have gone through three stages of development.[5] It entered the first stage in February 1988, from the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, when Armenian militias were formed to combat Azerbaijani units in Nagorno-Karabakh. The second phase of the development of the army began in 1992, several months after Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Ter-Grigoryants and civilian officials in the Armenian Ministry of Defense, including Vazgen Manukyan and Vazgen Sargsyan, sought to establish a "small, well-balanced, combat-ready defense force."[6] The third phase began after the end of the war and continues to today.

Most of the army's staff officers were members of the former Soviet military. An estimated 5,000 Armenians were serving as high-level officers in the military at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.[7] Almost immediately after its independence, Armenia was embroiled in the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Azerbaijan. Intending to establish a force of 30,000 men, the army's standing force increased to 50,000 by early 1994. During the war, the military remained on high alert and bolstered defenses in the region of Zangezur, opposite the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan. Purported artillery bombardment in May 1992 from the region led to skirmishes between the two sides, including the Armenian army's incursion into several villages into Nakhichevaan. Since 1994, the army has taken an active role in ensuring the defense of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in conjunction with the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army.[8]

International deployments[edit]

Armenian soldiers in Iraq

The Armenian army has collaborated in several international missions with the West. On February 12, 2004, Armenia deployed a platoon-sized unit (three squads) to Kosovo as a part of the Greek peacekeeping battalion. The unit, known as the Peacekeeping Forces of Armenia, is headquartered in Camp "REGAS FEREOS" as a part of the Multi-National Task Force East and is tasked with maintaining vehicle check points, providing security for the base but also serves as a quick reaction force and crowd and riot control.[9] In 2008, the KFOR unit was expanded, adding a second platoon plus company staff (bringing Armenia's contingent to about 85 personnel).[10]

In the autumn of 2004, the Armenian government approved the dispatch of a 46-man contingent from the army consisting of sappers, engineers and doctors under Polish command as part of the Multinational Force in Iraq. On November 10, 2006, Senior Lieutenant Georgy Nalbandyan was injured in a mine explosion in Iraq but survived after being transported for surgery to a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, near Ramstein Air Base.[11] On October 6, 2008, due to improving security conditions, the contingent's tour of duty came to an end.[12]

In July 2009, the Defense Minister of Armenia, Seyran Ohanyan, announced that Armenia would send a force to participate with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the War in Afghanistan by the end of the year. He did not mention how large the force would be but did note that it probably would include munitions experts and communications officers. A MOD spokesmen also stated that the force would include medical specialists and translators as well. Ohanyan added that Armenian officers who served in the Soviet military during the Soviet War in Afghanistan also expressed the desire to return there as members of the new force.[13] In November 2009, a NATO official affirmed that an Armenian contingent numbering 30 troops will join the ISAF sometime in early 2010.[14] That number was revised to 40 in early December, when the Armenian parliament overwhelmingly voted in approval of the contingent's deployment. The servicemen arrived in Afghanistan in February 2010, where, under German command, they are tasked to defend the regional airport in Kunduz.[15] There are currently 126 servicemen in Afghanistan.[1]

In conjunction with its strategic allies, Armenia has sent over 1,500 officers to be trained in Greece and Russia.[5] The Armenian Ministry of Defense also established in 2004 a joint partnership with the Kansas National Guard in order to exchange knowledge and facilitate cooperation in national security and civilian affairs.

Organization[edit]

Armenian soldiers training at the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute.

General Staff[edit]

  • Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan - Defense Minister
  • Colonel-General Mikael Harutyunyan - Chief Military Inspector and Presidential Advisor
  • Colonel-General Gurgen Daribaltayan — Deputy head of Chief of Staff and special military adviser to current president, Serzh Sargsyan
  • Colonel-General Harut Kassabyan - Commander of Capital Guard
  • Lieutenant-General Aghik Myurzabekyan
  • Lieutenant-General Arthur Aghabekyan
  • Lieutenant-General Yuri Khachaturov
  • Lieutenant-General Gurgen Melkonyan
  • Lieutenant-General Roland Kereshyan

Academies[edit]

Field Forces[edit]

Armenian Army Order of Battle
  • 1st Army Corps (HQ Goris):[4] one independent tank battalion, one independent reconnaissance battalion, two motor rifle regiments.[16]
  • 2nd Army Corps (HQ Khachaghbyur): one independent tank battalion, one independent reconnaissance battalion, one independent rifle regiment, two independent motor rifle regiments, one independent artillery battalion.
  • 3rd Army Corps (HQ Vanadzor): one independent rifle regiment, one independent artillery battalion, one independent tank battalion, one independent reconnaissance battalion, one independent rocket artillery battalion, four independent motor rifle regiments, one maintenance battalion, one signals battalion.
  • 4th Army Corps (HQ Yeghegnadzor): four independent motor rifle regiments, an independent self-propelled artillery battalion, one signals battalion.
  • 5th Army Corps (HQ Nubarashen in Yerevan): two fortified regions, one independent motor rifle regiment, one independent rifle regiment.
  • Army-level Troops:[16] one air and air defence joint command (Jane's World Armies mentions an Army Air and Air Defence at Chobankara under Colonel Ararat Hambarian), one training motor rifle brigade, one special forces regiment (Jane's World Armies mentions a regiment at Nubarashen under Colonel Artur Simonian), one artillery brigade, one self-propelled artillery regiment, one anti-tank regiment, one engineer regiment with demining centre, one surface-to-air missile brigade, two surface-to-air missile regiments, one radiotechnical (radar) regiment.

Brinkster.net reported in 2004 that according to media reports, the Army included the 555th Motor Rifle Regiment,[17] the 83rd Motor Rifle Brigade (Dasheksan), the 1st Motor Rifle Brigade, the 7th Fortified Region (Gyumri), the 9th Fortified Region (Etchmiadzin), a Motor Rifle Regiment (Etchmiadzin), the 538th Motor Rifle Regiment (Ağdaban), a Motor Rifle Regiment (Shushi), and the 545th Motor Rifle Regiment.

Special Forces[edit]

The Armenian military's special forces include a standard special forces regiment, and 3+ reconnaissance battalions. (Excluding Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army Special Forces and National Defense forces, both of which are heavily integrated into the Armenian Armed Forces.) The operational history surrounding all the aforementioned groups are not known, the operation's that are known and are outside of standard duties such as intelligence gathering include:

  • Unknown number of cross-border raids [18]
  • The securing of Armenian pilot's remains and helicopter parts after the shoot down of a Nagorno-Karabakh helicopter [19]

The special forces of both republics are allowed fast-attack vehicles to conduct some operations and exercises.


Equipment[edit]

Small arms[edit]

Weapon Caliber Origin Notes
Pistols and Submachine Guns
Makarov PM 9x18 mm  Soviet Union Service Pistol
Assault Rifles, Battle Rifles and Carbines
AK-74 5.45×39 mm  Soviet Union Service Rifle
AK-74M 5.45×39 mm  Soviet Union Used mainly by the Special Forces
AKS-74U 5.45×39 mm  Soviet Union Used by special forces, police, and vehicle crews. Usually used for urban/close quarter combat and counter-terrorsm operations
AKM 7.62×39 mm  Soviet Union Used by all branches, usually for urban/close quarter combat and counter terrorist operations
AK-105 5.45×39 mm  Russia Used mainly by border guards and special forces
Sniper Rifles
Dragunov SVD 7.62×54 mm  Soviet Union Main service sniper rifle
Sv-98 .338 Lapua Magnum  Russia Used by snipers and the Special Forces
Accuracy International AWM[20] .338 Lapua Magnum  United Kingdom Used by snipers and Special Forces. Possibly acquired from Russia or Greece).
Zastava M93 Black Arrow 12.7×108 mm  Serbia An anti-materiel sniper rifle is used by snipers and Special Forces
Machine Guns
RPK-74 5.45×39 mm  Soviet Union
PK machine gun 7.62×54 mm  Soviet Union
DShK 12.7×108 mm  Soviet Union
NSV machine gun 12.7×108 mm  Soviet Union
Kord machine gun[21] 12.7×108 mm  Russia
Grenade Launchers
AGS-17 30 x 29 grenade  Soviet Union
AGS-30 30 x 29 grenade  Russia
Anti-tank Systems
RPG-7 85 mm  Soviet Union
SPG-9 73 mm  Soviet Union
Anti-tank Guided Missile
9M113 Konkurs[22] 135 mm  Soviet Union
9K114 Shturm[22] 130 mm  Soviet Union
MANPADS
Strela 2 72 mm  Soviet Union
Mortars
Soltam K6[22] 120 mm  Israel 19 in use

Vehicles[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, these figures correspond to the data found in the International Institute for Strategic Studies' (IISS) 2013 profile on Armenia.[1]

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Armoured vehicles
T-90S  Russia Main Battle Tank 1 2013 Moscow Victory Day Parade (28).jpg Won in Tank biathlon
T-80[23]  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 20 Victory Day Parade 2005-18.jpg
T-72  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 137 T-72 Ajeya.jpg 84 scheduled to be upgraded and modernized by Poland as PT-72Us over the course of 2013-15[24] Many more T72 units are estimated to be in the service of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army. Armenia also received 35 T72s from Russia [25]
T-55  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 8 Soviet tank T-54-55 in the "35 years - Victory Park", Kineshma.JPG 3 T-54 and 5 T-55
BMP-2  Russia Infantry fighting vehicle 50-100 BMP-2 military parade rehearsal.jpg 50-100 units modernized/repaired by Russia in 2012-2013[24] Possibly more in storage [26]
BMP-1  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 80 BMP-1 AP 1.jpg
BMP-1K  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 7 BMP-1K komento versio Parola tank museum.jpg Command Variant
BRM-1K  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 12 BRM-1K top.jpg Command Variant
BMD-1  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 5 Bmd-1 ifv.jpg
BRDM-2  Soviet Union Scout car 120 BRDM-2 Anti-tank vehicle.jpg Includes anti-tank variant
BTR-80  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 160 BTR-80 of TsSN Vityaz.jpg Possibly more in storage [26][27]
BTR-70  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 21 BTR70 002.jpg Upgraded with new engines and 30mm gun
BTR-60  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 11 BTR-60PB DA-ST-89-06597.jpg
BTR-152  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier BTR 152 Yerevan.JPG
MT-LB  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 145 Soviet MT-LB.JPEG Including following variants:
GAZ-2975[28]  Russia Armoured personnel carrier N/A GAZ 2975 Tigr.JPG

Other[edit]

BM-21 GRAD mobile rocket artillery.
9K33 Osa mobile anti-aircraft units on parade in Yerevan.

Anti-aircraft[1]

Artillery

Radar systems

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The Military Balance 2013. London: Routledge, 2013, pp. 215-16.
  2. ^ "Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
  3. ^ Petrosyan, David. "Formation and Development of Armenian Armed Forces." Moscow Defence Brief. Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Moscow, 6-2002, accessed November 2009. Ter-Grigoryants had previously served with the 40th Army (Soviet Union) in Afghanistan as chief of staff, supervising operations in May 1982.
  4. ^ a b Jane's World Armies Armenia, October 2004.
  5. ^ a b Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia. General History of the Armenian Army. Retrieved January 31, 2006.
  6. ^ Curtis, Glenn E. and Ronald G. Suny. "Armenia," in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia Country Studies, ed. Glenn E. Curtis. Washington D.C.: Federal Research Division Library of Congress, 1995, p. 72.
  7. ^ Mirsky, Georgiy I. On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997, p. 63. ISBN 0-313-30044-5.
  8. ^ See Richard Giragosian, "Armenia and Karabakh: One Nation, Two States." AGBU Magazine. № 1, Vol. 19, May 2009, pp. 12-13.
  9. ^ Kosovo Force. KFOR Contingent: Armenia. KFOR. Last updated January 24, 2006. Accessed February 9, 2007.
  10. ^ NATO’s relations with Armenia. NATO. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  11. ^ "Armenian peacekeeper to undergo two more surgeries." Public Radio of Armenia. November 20, 2006. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
  12. ^ Glassey, Eric. "Armenians Complete Successful Mission." Multinational Force in Iraq. October 7, 2008. Accessed September 6, 2009.
  13. ^ "Armenia to send forces to Afghanistan this year." Armenian Reporter. July 24, 2009. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  14. ^ "Armenia To Send Troops To Afghanistan." RFE/RL. November 09, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  15. ^ "Armenian Parliament Endorses Troop Deployment To Afghanistan." RFE/RL. December 8, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  16. ^ a b IISS (2007). The Military Balance 2007. London: Routledge for the IISS. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-85743-437-8. 
  17. ^ See Human Rights Watch/Helsinki Watch, Azerbaijan: Seven years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994, p. 69.
  18. ^ "Reconnaissance Scouts on Karabakh Frontline Tight-Lipped About Themselves, Their Actions". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Bodies of Armenian pilots removed from helicopter crash site". Reuters. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  20. ^ AWM.
  21. ^ "The Armed Forces of Armenia Official Thread - Page 126". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d [1] Armyrecognition.com Armenia Land Forces military equipment and vehicles Armenian Army. August 2013.
  23. ^ Jane's World Armies Armenia, 2008.
  24. ^ a b (Russian) Центр анализа мировой торговли оружием. p. 17.
  25. ^ (Russian) [2].
  26. ^ a b (Russian) [3].
  27. ^ (Russian) [4].
  28. ^ (Armenian) "Մեր զորահանդեսից հետո Բաքուն հասկացավ, որ չի կարող լուծել Ղարաբաղի հարցը ռազմական ճանապարհով" [After Our Military Parade, Baku Understands that it Cannot Resolve the Karabakh Question through Military Means]. PanArmenian.net. October 14, 2011.
  29. ^ "Ohanian Signals Russian Missile Supplies." RFE/RL. January 28, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  30. ^ Danielyan, Emil. "Armenia Parades Military Might On Independence Day." RFE/RL. September 21, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  31. ^ An unspecified number are in service in the army, according to Armenian Defense Ministry officials, with plans to acquire more: "Armenian Military 'Interested' In Acquiring Russian Rocket Artillery." RFE/RL. June 9, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  32. ^ "New Chinese Rockets ‘Acquired By Armenia’." RFE/RL. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  33. ^ Jane's Armour and Artillery, 2003-2004

External links[edit]