Armenian Army

Army of the Republic of Armenia
Հայաստանի Հանրապետության բանակ
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]
(2013 cencus)
Engagements Nagorno-Karabakh War
Peacekeeping roles in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon
-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]


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

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.[16]

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. It also signed a military cooperation plan with Lebanon on November 27, 2015.[17]


Armenian soldiers training at the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute.

General Staff


Field Forces

Armenian Army Order of Battle

Special Forces

The Armenian military's special forces include a standard army 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:

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


Small arms

Weapon Caliber Origin Notes
MP-443 Grach 9x19 mm  Russia Used by special forces and police
Makarov PM 9x18 mm  Soviet Union Service Pistol
Assault Rifles, Battle Rifles and Carbines
AK-74 5.45×39 mm  Soviet Union Standard Service Rifle AKS-74 variant included.
AK-74M 5.45×39 mm  Russia Used by special forces
AK-105 5.45×39 mm  Russia Used mainly by border guards and special forces
AKM 7.62×39 mm  Soviet Union Used by all branches. AKMS variant included.
AK-47 7.62×39 mm  Soviet Union Used by all branches
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-terrorism operations
VSS Vintorez 9×39mm  Soviet Union Used by special forces
AS Val 9×39mm  Soviet Union Used by special forces
K-3 5.45×39 mm  Armenia Used mainly by the special forces
Sniper Rifles
Accuracy International AX-338[22] .338 Lapua Magnum  United Kingdom Used by snipers and Special Forces.
Dragunov SVD 7.62×54 mm  Soviet Union/ Russia Main service sniper rifle. New units to be delivered as part of the 2015 Armenian-Russian arms deal.
Truvelo CMS[23] 12.7x99 mm
K-11 5.45×39 mm  Armenia Used by the Armenian armed forces
PGM 338 .338 Lapua Magnum  France Used by snipers and the Special Forces
Sv-98 .338 Lapua Magnum  Russia Used by snipers and the Special Forces
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[24] 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
RPG-26 72.5 mm  Russia Part of the Armenian-Russian arms deal
RPO-A 93 mm  Soviet Union
SPG-9 73 mm  Soviet Union
Anti-tank Guided Missile
9K111 Fagot[25] 120 mm  Soviet Union
9M113 Konkurs[25] 135 mm  Soviet Union
9K114 Shturm[25] 130 mm  Soviet Union
9K115 Metis[25] 130 mm  Soviet Union
MILAN[26] 103 mm  France Germany Received from an unknown source
Strela 2 72 mm  Soviet Union
Igla-S[27] 72 mm  Soviet Union Part of Russian-Armenian arms deal
2B9 Vasilek[25] 82 mm  Soviet Union N/A


Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016[28]

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Armoured vehicles
T-90S  Russia Main Battle Tank 1 1 tank won in Tank biathlon.
T-80[29]  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 20
T-72  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 200+[30] Some T-72B mod. 1989 are in service with Kontakt-5 ERA. Estimated 530-540 T-72 tanks are in service together with the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army.[31] Armenia also received 35 T-72s from Russia in 2013 [32]
T-55  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 8 3 T-54 and 5 T-55
BMP-2  Russia Infantry fighting vehicle 50 50 units modernized/repaired by Russia in 2012-2013[33] Possibly more in storage [34]
BMP-1  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 75
BMP-1K  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 7 Command Variant
BRM-1K  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 12 Command Variant
BMD-1  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle 10
BRDM-2  Soviet Union Scout car 120 Includes anti-tank variant
BTR-80  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 110 Possibly more in storage.[32][34] Number does not include unknown number of Infauna electronic countermeasure variants first displayed at the 2016 military parade.[35]
BTR-70  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 40+ Upgraded with new engines and 30mm gun
BTR-60  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 100+
BTR-152  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier
MT-LB  Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 145 Including following variants:
GAZ-2975[36]  Russia Armoured personnel carrier 4 More ordered in 2015[37]

Multiple Rocket Launchers

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Multiple Rocket Launchers
BM-30 Smerch  Russia Multiple rocket launcher At least 2 launchers Displayed during 2016 Independence Day Parade[38]
WM-80[39]  People's Republic of China Multiple rocket launcher 4-8 Purchased from China in 1999
BM-21 Grad  Soviet Union Multiple rocket launcher 47 More in service with the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army
N-2  Armenia Multiple rocket launcher At least 2 Locally produced

Self-propelled artillery

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Self-Propelled Artillery
2S3 Akatsiya  Soviet Union Self-propelled artillery 28
2S1 Gvozdika  Soviet Union Self-propelled artillery 10

Military Engineering Vehicles

Name Type Quantity Photo
BAT-2  Soviet Union Combat engineering vehicle
 Soviet Union
Tracked armoured vehicle-launched bridge

Field Artillery

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Field Artillery
D-30  Soviet Union Howitzer 69
D-20  Soviet Union Howitzer 34
152 mm gun 2A36  Soviet Union Field Artillery 26
M-46[40]  Soviet Union Field Artillery N/A
M-30[41]  Soviet Union Field Artillery N/A With upgraded optics
T-12  Soviet Union Anti-tank gun 36

Tactical Ballistic Missile Systems

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Ballistic Missiles
Iskander-M  Russia short-range ballistic missile 4 launchers 4 launchers, unknown number of missiles.First shown during the preparations for the 2016 military parade in Yerevan. [42]
SCUD-B  Soviet Union short-range ballistic missile 8 launchers 32 missiles[43][44]
OTR-21 Tochka  Soviet Union short-range ballistic missile 7-8 launchers [45] Unknown number of missiles


Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
S-300PM  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile At least 8 launchers
S-300PT-1  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile 3 battalions positioned around Yerevan[46]
9K33 Osa  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile 10
BUK-M2 [47]  Soviet Union Surface-to-air missile N/A First shown during the preparations for the 2016 military parade in Yerevan.
2K11 Krug  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile 115
9K35M3 Strela-10M3  Soviet Union Short range SAM 10 Designated SA-13 "Gopher" by NATO.
2K12 Kub[48]  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile N/A
S-75 Dvina  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile 79
S-125 Neva/Pechora  Soviet Union surface-to-air missile N/A
ZSU-23-4  Soviet Union SPAA N/A
ZU-23-2  Soviet Union Anti-aircraft gun N/A
57 mm AZP S-6  Soviet Union Anti-aircraft gun N/A

Radar Systems

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Radar Systems
P-12 radar  Soviet Union radar N/A
P-15 radar  Soviet Union radar N/A
P-40 radar  Soviet Union radar N/A
Avtobaza[49][50]  Soviet Union radar N/A Part of Russian-Armenian arms deal

Future Equipment

Military equipment Armenian Army as of 2008-2016

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Future Equipment
TOS-1A  Russia Multiple rocket launcher N/A Part of Russian-Armenian arms deal. Will be delivered in 2016. [51][52][53]


Body Armor

See also


  1. 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. 1 2 Jane's World Armies. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, October 2004.
  5. 1 2 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. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The Military Balance 2012. London: Routledge, 2012, pp. 90-91.
  17. "Armenia and Lebanon Sign 2016 Military Cooperation Plan." Massis Post. November 27, 2015.
  18. 1 2 IISS (2007). The Military Balance 2007. London: Routledge for the IISS. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-85743-437-8.
  19. See Human Rights Watch/Helsinki Watch, Azerbaijan: Seven years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994, p. 69.
  20. "Reconnaissance Scouts on Karabakh Frontline Tight-Lipped About Themselves, Their Actions". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  21. "Bodies of Armenian pilots removed from helicopter crash site". Reuters. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  24. "The Armed Forces of Armenia Official Thread - Page 126". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Armenia Land Forces military equipment and vehicles Armenian Army. August 2013.
  26. (Armenian) "Ադրբեջանական լրատվամիջոցներն անդրադառնում են ՄԻԼԱՆ-ի վերաբերյալ Ռազմինֆոյի հրապարակմանը."
  28. The Military Balance 2016. – Page 178
  29. Jane's World Armies. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2008.
  32. 1 2 (Russian) .
  33. (Russian) Центр анализа мировой торговли оружием. p. 17.
  34. 1 2 (Russian) .
  35. (Russian)Военный парад, посвященный 25-летию независимости Армении, прошел 21 сентября в Ереване
  36. (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]. October 14, 2011.
  39. "New Chinese Rockets ‘Acquired By Armenia’." RFE/RL. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013
  43. Gary K. Bertsch (2000). Crossroads and conflict: security and foreign policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 0415922747.
  45. "Armenian Air Defenses "A Strategic Analysis"". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  46. "Buk system spotted during Armenia's Independence Day parade rehearsal". PanARMENIAN.Net. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  53. "Lubawa Armenia S.A. – fruitful meeting with MORA representatives."

External links

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