Georgian Armed Forces

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საქართველოს შეიარაღებული ძალები
Georgian Armed Forces
Saakashvili's Georgian Ministry of Defense logo.png
Ministry of Defence of Georgia logo
Founded Early 1990s
Current form 1991
Service branches Georgian Land Forces
Georgian Special Forces
Georgian Air Force
Georgian Coast Guard
Georgian National Guard
Headquarters Tbilisi
Leadership
Supreme Commander-in-chief President Giorgi Margvelashvili
Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania
Chief of general staff of georgian armed forces major general Vakhtang Kapanadze
Manpower
Military age 18-30 years old
Conscription 18 years of age, 18 months
Available for
military service
2,038,736, age 18-35 (2011 est.)
Fit for
military service
827,281, age 18-35 (2011 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
56,965 (2011 est.)
Active personnel 37,000[1] contract
Reserve personnel Reserve and Territorial Army.
~ 140,000 (by 2013) ( limit at 150,000 )[2]
Deployed personnel  Afghanistan - 755 troops deployed in Helmand and Kabul. Withdrawal process[3]
 Central African Republic - 140 troops deployed as peacekeepers[4]
Expenditures
Budget

595,000,000 GEL
360,000,000 USD (2013) [5]


(824,023,170 USD) (2012)
Percent of GDP 1.2% (2013)[6]
Industry
Domestic suppliers

Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing
Scientific Technical Center Delta

Tbilisi Tank Factory
Foreign suppliers  United States
 Ukraine
 Israel
 Czech Republic
 Poland
 Germany
 United Kingdom
 Bulgaria
 Greece
 Romania
Related articles
History Military history of Georgia
Ranks Georgian military ranks

The Georgian Armed Forces (Georgian: საქართველოს შეიარაღებული ძალები Transliteration: sakartvelos sheiaraghebuli dzalebi), is the name of the unified armed forces of Georgia. The Georgian military is a defence force consisting of the Georgian Land Forces, Georgian Air Force and a paramilitary organization Georgian National Guard. The national defence policy aims which are based on the Constitution of Georgia are to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state and the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. The armed forces of Georgia are under the authority of the Georgian Ministry of Defence.

History[edit]

The GAF were established in the early 1990s from former Soviet Army units on Georgian soil, irregular militias, and Georgian personnel returning from other posts within the former Soviet Armed Forces.

On March 23, 1994, Georgia was one of the first former Soviet Republics to join the Partnership for Peace. Among the Partners Georgia was the first country who could submit the special documentation (May 2004) and on October 29, 2004 the North Atlantic Council approved the first Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) for Georgia. If the IPAP is successful, Georgia will have good opportunity to accede to the Membership Action Plan (MAP).

Ministry of Defence headquarters in Tbilisi

The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) training was conducted using U.S. Special Operations Forces and U. S. Marine Corps forces from May 2002 to May 2004. During this time approximately 2,600 Georgian soldiers, including a headquarters staff element and 5 tactical units, received training. Another assistance program, the Georgia Security and Stability Operations Program (Georgia SSOP), was launched in January 2005 as a continuation of the (GTEP) of 2002-2004. Georgian contingents were involved in the Kosovo Force and continue to participate in the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The GAF have been extensively reformed in the recent years to meet Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO and for better response to the existing challenges such as the ongoing tensions in the unresolved separatist conflict areas in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as to the threats of global terrorism. Georgia also views a large-scale foreign invasion and the spillover of conflicts from Russia’s North Caucasus as the worst potential near- and long-term scenarios, respectively.[7]

On August 8, 2008 the Georgian military conducted an operation in Georgia's breakaway region South Ossetia (see 2008 South Ossetia War). The operation led to an armed conflict with forces from the Russian Federation and resulted in the defeat and expulsion of Georgian forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Following the military operations, Russia recognized independence of the regions, declared a decade ago.

The military budget of Georgia increased more than 50 times over the period from 2002 (US$ 18 mln.) to 2007 (US$ 780 mln.), reaching over 7% of Georgia's GDP. The military budget was then doubled to the end of 2008 and currently since February 2009, counts 660 mln lari (US$ 366 mln.)

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

A Georgian sniper engages Ossetian soldiers during the 2008 South Ossetia war.

In August 2008, following a series of fierce clashes in South Ossetia, Georgia attempted to take the separatist territory by force. In the resulting military conflict with Russia, Georgia was driven out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and lost parts of its military capabilities. According to Defence Minister Davit Kezerashvili, Georgia lost $400 million of material worth.[8] Russian forces confiscated a total of 1,728 firearms.[citation needed] Out of its original 200 T-72 tanks, more than 35 were lost, including 24 that were captured intact. A total of 50 pieces of military equipment were captured, and some others destroyed. Parts of Georgia's relatively modern artillery and anti-aircraft units were captured and later destroyed. Russian forces sank four Georgian naval vessels in the port of Poti, a coast guard gunboat in a naval skirmish, and hauled away nine rigid-hull inflatable boats. The Georgian Air Force lost two L-29 jet trainers, one AN-2 airplane, and four helicopters, all destroyed on the ground. Despite these mostly non combat losses, President Mikheil Saakashvili claimed that Georgia had lost less than 5% of its military hardware, disagreeing on Georgian military figures.[9]

Reconstruction[edit]

Georgia immediately began a process of re-armament after the war. The conflict was immediately followed by a very quick replenishment program of the gaps in the single GAF arms components with an additional massive re-equipment and modernization program. Two Georgian naval vessels sunk in Poti were raised and returned to service, although one had to undergo repairs.[10] although their heaviest armaments were 25-30mm cannons. The Georgian Navy's remaining operational naval units were merged into the Georgian Coast Guard, which received training in search and seizure tactics from the United States. Ukraine delivered munitions and artillery systems to Georgia in September 2008,[11] and later supplied Georgia with 12 T-84 and 25 T-72 tanks, three BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, sixty portable air defence missiles, munitions for rocket launchers, and anti-tank guided missiles.[12] Ukraine continued to supply shipments of arms to Georgia, and announced that it would only stop if the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo. Israel supplied Georgia with firearms after the war. The United States also delivered large amounts of arms and military equipment to Georgia after the war, and trained Georgian personnel.[13] Israel sold Georgia numerous Unmanned aerial vehicles, and supplied Georgia with two helicopters. The United States also trained Georgian soldiers to be deployed in Afghanistan. Georgia also rebuilt its damaged military bases. In August 2010, Georgia was reported to be spending 30 times more on its military budget than on economic development.[14] By late 2010 the Georgian military had reached a strength greater than pre-war levels and, after completing the reforms, decisively reduced military spending.[15] Since 2010 Georgia started to produce its own line of armoured fighting vehicles, small arms, artillery systems and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Organization[edit]

Structure of the Georgian Armed Forces as of 2014

The current authorized strength of the GAF structures is 36,553 personnel, including, 21 high-ranking officers, 6,166 officers and sergeants, 28,477 corporals, 125 cadets and around 388 civilians.[2] The Georgian Parliament aims to increase the professional strength of the ground forces till 2011.[16] The Georgian legislation (17 December 2010) establishes the strength of armed forces at no more than 37,000 for the year 2011. This limitation does not extend to the state of war, military reserve and temporary staff of the Defence Ministry of Georgia.[17]

The Land Forces form the largest component of the GAF responsible for providing land defence against any threat to the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting Border Police in border protection and civil authorities in counter-terrorist operations as well as providing units for NATO-led and coalition operations abroad. They are organized into infantry brigades, artillery and other supporting capacities operating at a battalion level.[18]

The Special Force Brigade is responsible for conducting reconnaissance, unconventional warfare and counter-terrorism operations. The Georgian National Guard organizes and trains reservists in the peacetime and mobilizes them during a crisis or wartime.[18]

In addition there is the Army Logistics Provision Command and the Military Training and Education Command, which supervises the Sachkhere Mountain Training School.

Ground arms[edit]

The structure of the Georgian Land Forces is based on brigade and battalion-sized military units. The main force consists of five infantry and two artillery brigades with additional brigades or battalions attached. Georgian brigades have a total manpower of up to 5,500+ each including non-combat personnel.[19] The overall strength of the land forces is 36,553 (excluding active reserve), from which 21 are high-ranking officers, 6,166 officers and sergeants, 28,477 corporals, 125 cadets and 388 civilians.[2] The ground forces are equipped with a great variety of weapons and vehicles (see here). Special forces operate independently under MOD direction.

The Georgian Land Force consists of following combat formations (incomplete):[20]

Regular Forces[edit]

Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan
Casualty treatment training during Combined Resolve II
Assault training during Combined Resolve II
  • HQ, Land Forces Command (Tbilisi)
    • Central Command Point
  • Operational Command East
    • 1st Infantry Brigade (Tbilisi)
    • 4th Mechanized Infantry Brigade (Vaziani)
      • 41st Mechanized Infantry Battalion
      • 42nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion
      • 43rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Infantry Brigade (Gori)
      • 51st Light Infantry Battalion
      • 52nd Light Infantry Battalion
      • 53rd Light Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Artillery Brigade (Vaziani)
  • Operational Command West
    • 2nd Infantry Brigade (Senaki)[21]
      • 21st Light Infantry Battalion
      • 22nd Light Infantry Battalion
      • 23rd Light Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Infantry Brigade (The Mamelukes) (Kutaisi)
      • 31st Light Infantry Battalion
      • 32nd Light Infantry Battalion
      • 33rd Light Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Artillery Brigade (Khoni)

Independent Units[edit]

  • Engineer Brigade
  • Air Defence Brigade (Kutaisi)
  • Separate Light Infantry Battalion (Batumi)
  • Military Intelligence Battalion (Kobuleti)
  • Signal Battalion
  • Medical Battalion (Saguramo)


In 2011 the Georgian high command decided to divide its military forces into two main operational units; the Eastern-and Western Operational Groups. The aim was to create two independently acting military districts which would consist of forces in accordance to the strategic value of their deployment areas yet being balanced in their type of equipment. In case of war each group will be able to coordinate its operations independently from high command, having its own logistical and administrative reserves.

Special Forces[edit]

  • Special Forces Brigade.jpg Special Forces Brigade
    • Operational Headquarters (Tbilisi)
      • Special Operations Battalion
      • Naval Special Operations Group
      • Mountain-Recon Battalion
      • Support/Maintenance Battalion
      • Special Forces Training Center

Georgian Special Forces are subordinated under the MOD Special Operations Main Division to a brigade-level command structure. Each formation is split into several sub-divisions which are allocated on different Georgian regions, cities and strategically important areas. Most units are composed of veterans of past conflicts including the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, the wars in Georgia and the insurgency in Chechnya. Some soldiers served in former Soviet Army formations in Russia and the Ukraine.

Since 2001, Georgia has intensified the training of its elite forces in cooperation with American, French, British, Israeli and other countries' special services. Georgian commandos participated in the Iraq War from 2003 until the complete withdrawal of the Georgian contingent in 2008 due to an escalation of hostilities in South Ossetia. According to independent accounts, a number of Georgian operatives were also deployed prior in Afghanistan to aide US Special Forces in hunting down Taliban leaders. Georgian officials have stated that a group of servicemen were deployed in Afghanistan for medical purposes.

Army Air Section (former Air Force)[edit]

Georgian Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircraft
Main article: Georgian Air Force

The Strategic Defence Review in 2007 described the Air Force consists of aviation and air defence assets and provides security to Georgia’s airspace.

The Georgian Air Force was merged into the Army in 2010, and was renamed the Army Air Section, undergoing massive reorganization and restructuring. The additional operative section of the Georgian Land Forces currently consists of an unknown amount of planes, transport helicopters, gunships and 3,000 Personnel. The Georgian Air Force lost two helicopters on ground during the 2008 South Ossetia War,

Two major airfields are located near Tbilisi at Alekseevka and Marneuli.

Georgian Coast Guard (Former Naval Force)[edit]

Main article: Georgian Navy

In 2007 the Strategic Defence Review said the Georgian Navy protects Georgia’s territorial waters and contributes to the collective maritime defence in the Black Sea region.

The Georgian Navy was abolished in 2009 and was incorporated into the Coast Guard, which is not structurally part of the Georgian Armed Forces, but rather it is a subunit of the Border Guard of Georgia, which is under the control of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The Coast Guard of Georgia is responsible for maintenance of the sovereignty of the country and for protection of internal territorial waters and economic zones. The headquarters and a principal Coast Guard base are located at the Black Sea port of Poti.

Georgian Coast Guard vessels

The other, smaller Coast Guard base is in Batumi. Besides the naval force, the navy also includes a Special Counter-terrorist Detachment force. Georgia is also one of the founding members and a participant of the Black Sea Naval Co-operation Task Group. Before the war with Russia, the Georgian navy had 19 naval vessels. 4 of them were sunk during the conflict, and nine rigid-hull inflatables were captured by Russia. The Georgians raised and returned to service two of the sunken vessels, and partially replaced their losses with Turkish-built patrol/fast attack boats. Their heaviest armaments are 25−30mm cannons. However, no Georgian navy vessels are armed with ship-to-ship missiles.

National Guard of Georgia[edit]

The National Guard of Georgia was established on December 20, 1990 and was manned mainly by volunteers. It represents the first Georgian armed formation, which became the base of the foundation for modern Georgian Armed Forces. The Guard actively participated in the conflicts that occurred in Georgian territory (Samachablo, Abkhazia).

The National Guard used to consist of 20,554 personnel, but has now been reduced to 550. The main missions of the National Guard are:

  1. Support civil government in crisis situations (natural, technological, ecological);
  2. Register mobilization resources, study and deliver;
  3. Convene, select and man of citizens on the basis of the agreement, for the units, subunits and bases of the Armed Forces;
  4. Provide ceremonial activity support;
  5. Assisting in training the Reserve Forces.

Army Reserve and Territorial Defence Forces[edit]

The Army Reserve is a professional reserve force consisting of former regular army personnel only. It is circa 20,000 men strong and provides combat support or delaying manouveurs against hostile forces. Due to the amount of experience, the Reserve personnel would be set-in for replacement of losses in the ranks of regular formations and will if needed also operate in the vanguard of a combined mechanized group or an infantry assault. The equipment does not greatly differ from that of regular army, even though it has not the same priority level in terms of supply and logistics.

The Territorial Defence Forces were established for immediate readiness of the population in crisis events, such as war. Its main goals would be the fortification and defence of all populated and strategically important areas as well as providing quick aid or security for evacuation operations in case of natural catastrophes.

Other than the active army reserve which consists of only ex military personnel, the Territorial Defence Forces are rather sparsely prepared for complex military operations. It instead provides more comfort for the regular forces in case of war. By acting as additional logistical arm and leaving the actual combat to them. With the land forces and reserve army engaged in direct action the Defence Force's most important task would be to construct trenches, bunkers and obstacles around strategically important areas and position themselves on systematically formed defensive lines. The number of conscripts does not exceed 120,000 and is reasonably large, as it is in the strategy's intention to use any possible geographical advantage over the enemy, when professionalism is compensated by that factor.

The conscripts are generally poorly equipped compared to their land forces counterparts. The number of combat, protection gear and supplies will be most likely limited in the event of war. The Territorial Defence Force consists of ordinary citizens of all occupations who undertake training in the basics of modern warfare. The weapons trained on are mainly of soviet origin and abandoned material used formerly by the regular army, including tanks. Such weapons are the AK series assault rifes and rocket propelled launchers RPG-7.

Commissioned officers[edit]

Main article: Commissioned Officers
Georgian armed forces O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10 0-11
Insignia GAF army junior lieutenant.jpg GAF army lieutenant.jpg GAF army senior lieutenant.jpg GAF army captain ( diamond form version ).jpg GAF army major.jpg GAF army lieutenant colonel.jpg GAF army colonel.jpg GAF Brigadier General new.jpg GAF Major General new.jpg GAF Lieutenant General new.jpg GAF General.jpg
Title Third Lieutenant Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant Captain Major Lieutenant Colonel Colonel Brigadier General Major General Lieutenant General General
Abbreviation 2LT LT 1LT CPT MAJ LTC COL BG MG LTG GEN
NATO Code OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9

International cooperation[edit]

Georgian Armed Forces have been participating in peacekeeping missions (the Balkans, Persian Gulf) since 1999.

Units participating in peacekeeping missions are manned by professional soldiers, the duration of the mission is six months and participation is voluntary. The readiness assessment criteria are, as follows: health condition, physical fitness, professional skills and experience.

Peacekeeping missions[edit]

Georgian troops listening to a speech in Baghdad, Iraq

About 200 Georgian troops were deployed in the Kosovo (KFOR) in 1999-2008, 70 were deployed in Iraq (OIF) in 2003 and 50 in Afghanistan in 2004 (ISAF). From 2004 in Iraq were 300 Georgian troops. From 2005 approximately 850 troops were serving under Coalition Command (OIF and UNAMI). On July 2007 Georgia sent an extra 1,400 troops to Iraq; that brought the total number of troops in Iraq to 2,000. About 300 of these troops were assigned to Taskforce Petro and stationed at COP Cleary outside the town of Wahida near Salman Pak, Iraq. On August 8, 2008 Georgia announced it will withdraw 1,000 troops from Iraq due to rising hostilities with Russia. Their preparedness and training skills are evaluated on highest level by international experts. The entire Iraq contingent has been airlifted back to Georgia.

Hence, owing to participation in international peacekeeping missions the military members are able to obtain practical experience and to show readiness to cooperate with NATO and with other partner countries' forces.

Currently there are more than 1,570 Georgian combat troops deployed in Helmand, Afghanistan where Georgia has thus far suffered 22 deaths and over a hundred injuries.[22][23] In September 2012, Georgia stated that it would continue its contributions in Afghanistan following the 2014 NATO withdrawal.[24] In November 2012, Georgia had doubled the number of troops deployed to fight with Nato-led forces in Afghanistan to over 1,500. Georgia has 1,570 troops serving there, making the small Caucasus country of 4.5 million people the largest non-Nato contributor to the Afghanistan mission.[25]

Since 2014 Georgia is also contributing 140 troops to the EUFOR peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

Military Industry[edit]

Georgian PDSHP anti materiel rifle

Georgia's JSC RMP and later the Ministry of Defence section "Delta" have been working on the development of ballistic equipment since the late 90s. With foreign support mainly from the United States beginning in 2005, they were able to start building a solid industrial base for the military. An advanced research unit had successfully developed a variety of personal protection gear, such as bomb disposal suits and level I-IV body armour using classified mixtures of domestic resource. But the projects never went beyond some prototypes, mainly due to poor attention and financing from the government. From 2001 to 2007, Delta experimented with unmanned aerial vehicles and modified parts for helicopters and Su-25 aircraft until it got involved in the modification of Georgia's T-72 tank fleet. In 2009-10, with enough experience and expertise and the assistance of designer Zviad Tsikolia, Delta made its first prototype of a military vehicle, the Didgori. Early tests were reported to be highly successful. Two versions would then start serving in the armed forces from 2011. For the first time Delta showed its research and production capabilities to the public. Delta showed that it was able to produce various artillery systems, anti tank weapons and other arms. Just a year later the Lazika IFV was unveiled. While still under development, some of these vehicles are already in active service. Delta considers Lazika one of the best vehicles in its class bearing armour technology similar to that of Israel. Due to "misdirected financing" and heavy interfering of former government officials, project Lazika was cancelled in late 2012 due to "sabotage" on its armour research but later continued in early 2013 when a newly elected government took charge. As of 2007 Georgia is domestically producing uniforms for its military personnel. However early products were of cheap quality and such shortcomings were corrected not earlier than 2012. Since then only high quality fabricates are licensed for use. Products include full uniform sets, ceremonial and for all service branches, boots, hats, assault vests, puches and backpacks etc. The research on ballistic gear was never interrupted even under the ill circumstances in earlier days and ballistic vests and helmets are being developed and produced consequently since 2013.

Georgia began working intensely on military projects after 2008, since then Georgia has developed or produced:

Didgori-2 on parade in 2011

Bases[edit]

Name Location
Ministry of Defence Headquarters Tbilisi
Vaziani Military Base near Tbilisi
Krtsanisi Military Base near Tbilisi
Akhalkalaki Military Base Akhalkalaki
Alekseevka Airbase near Tbilisi
Marneuli Airbase Marneuli
Bolnisi Airbase near Tbilisi
Gori Military Base near Gori
Senaki Military Base Senaki
Poti naval base Poti
Mukhrovani Military Base Mukhrovani
Kutaisi Military Base Kutaisi
Khelvachauri Military Base Khelvachauri
Khoni Military Base Khoni
Batumi naval base Batumi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parliament of Georgia". Parliament.ge. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Вооружённые силы Грузии". milkavkaz.net. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  3. ^ http://www.isaf.nato.int/troop-numbers-and-contributions/index.php
  4. ^ http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=27617
  5. ^ http://mod.gov.ge/documents/Budget%20ENG-1.pdf
  6. ^ "Air Forces to Become Part of Land Forces". Civil.Ge. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  7. ^ The Strategic Defense Review (2007), p. 77.
  8. ^ http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/europe/205%20South%20Ossetia%20-%20The%20Burden%20of%20Recognition.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/5jZjEpcOy
  10. ^ "Tutte le dimensioni |IMG_0721 | Flickr – Condivisione di foto!". Flickr.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "U.S. Reviewing Military Aid to Georgia, Pledges to Prevent Russia From Creating 'Divide' in Europe". Fox News. December 7, 2011. 
  14. ^ $400 mln on guns, $12 mln on economy: Saakashvili's spending plan RT on YouTube
  15. ^ "Russian peacekeeper". Russian peacekeeper. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  16. ^ "საქართველოს თავდაცვის სამინისტრო". Mod.gov.ge. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  17. ^ (Georgian) საქართველოს სამხედრო ძალების რაოდენობის დამტკიცების შესახებ. Parliament of Georgia. December 17, 2010. Accessed April 12, 2011
  18. ^ a b The Strategic Defense Review (2007), p. 74.
  19. ^ "Structure of Land Forces". Mod.gov.ge. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  20. ^ "Georgian Ministry of Defence: Land Force". Mod.gov.ge. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  21. ^ See also http://desantura.ru/veteran/521/
  22. ^ Tenth Georgia Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Retrieved: September 1, 2011
  23. ^ Seth Robson. "U.S. training a dual mission for Georgians". Stripes.com. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  24. ^ Georgia keeps helping Afghanistan - Armyrecognition.com, September 10, 2012
  25. ^ "Georgia doubles number of troops in Afghanistan". Khaama Press (KP), Afghan Online Newspaper. November 28, 2012. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes). 2005  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2005 edition".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]