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News / From Our Bureaus

Armenia Claims Its Military Produces Drones

YEREVAN -- Armenian officials say they are manufacturing and supplying the country's military with unmanned aircraft, or drones, capable of flying deep into enemy territory, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Colonel Armen Mkrtchian, deputy commander of the air force, said on June 18 in Yerevan that "we have quite serious unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), even those capable of carrying out objectives deep inside enemy territory." He said the drones are made in Armenia.

"Having said that, we do not rule out the possibility of acquiring foreign-made ones, including for mere comparison," Mkrtchian said. "After all, you can [only] tell good and bad things through comparison."

Mkrtchian declined to give any details about domestic drone manufacturing, which exists in a small number of countries. He refused to say if Armenian-made UAVs are designed only for surveillance missions or air strikes as well.

That the Armenian military is equipped with domestically designed and manufactured drones has been claimed by some local defense analysts in the last few years. Mkrtchian's remarks are the first official confirmation of those assertions.

Armenia's arch foe, Azerbaijan, is known to have UAVs. It had, until recently, bought them from Israel. An Azerbaijani-Israeli joint venture reportedly began assembling drones in Azerbaijan earlier this year.

In the past decade, Azerbaijan has also acquired dozens of conventional military aircraft as part of an ongoing military build-up. Its air force is thought to have numerical superiority over the Armenian air force.

Both Mkrtchian and Artsrun Hovannisian, an Armenian Defense Ministry expert, downplayed that advantage. They claimed that Baku's air capability is grossly inflated and would be of little use to the Azerbaijani army in case of another war over the disputed breakaway Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mkrtchian also said the Armenian air force has received "quite sophisticated and precise air-strike means" that put it in a position to wage offensive warfare.

"In the last 19 years we have gone through a very difficult process of military training," he said. "Our pilots are today ready to carry out flights at night and in difficult meteorological conditions. They are ready for any actions in any place and at any moment."

He added that "like developed NATO countries, [Armenia is] ready to carry out targeted strikes on any enemy target, economic facility, and the like."
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Comment Sorting
by: Papken Hartunian from: USA
June 21, 2011 15:19
Only a powerful army can avoid another genocide against Armenians.
All peace agreements and treaties are worthless without powerful army. For the first time, I am happy to hear that Armenia has developed relatively modern aircrafts. One day, I would like to hear that Armenia has developed Atomic bombs as well.
In Response

by: Joe from: Arizona
June 21, 2011 17:53
Who says Armenia doesn't have an atomic capability.....
In Response

by: Richard from: Watertown, MA
June 21, 2011 18:39
Well put Papken. Surrounded by Turkic enemies on both sides, the only way for Armenia to ensure its survival is with a strong military deterrent.
In Response

by: shawn from: studio city
June 21, 2011 23:05
we do have nuclear capability !dont forget that we have a nuclear plant.

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Santiago, Chile
June 21, 2011 17:56
That's right. Only the balance of power between Armenia and Azerbaijan will keep peace in the region. It's world-wide known that when the balance is broken, this usually leads to wars (that's why Taiwan wants the US to provide them with the F-16 C/D, as a way to maintain the ''balance'' in the Taiwan Straits between PR China and Rep. China/Taiwan). If this is real, this will help Armenia to secure the balance with Azerbaijan, as well as makes Baku to re-think their war-like attitudes of lately; resulting in the maintaining of the peace, as well as keep the respect of the negociation process.

by: Aslan from: Paris
June 22, 2011 10:46
You all make it seem as if Armenia is facing a genocidal threat from it's neighbours. If Armenia withdrew from at least the surroud regions of Nagorno-Karabakh and agreed to continue negotiations with security guarantees and some incentives which were proposed by the Minsk Group we would not have come to this stage. And if you Armenians care so much about your country then lobby for peace not war. You don't very much differ from Iran or Hezbollah in your rhetoric. Living in US has not taught you anything it seems. What a pity!
In Response

by: Alex from: Seattle, WA
June 22, 2011 13:41
If I'm not mistaken, it's Azerbaijan's dear leader who browbeats and makes bellicose, warmongering statements, not anyone from Armenia. So, no Aslan, Azerbaijan is comparable to Iran and Hezbollah, not Armenia.
In Response

by: Joe from: Arizona
June 22, 2011 14:07
Dear Aslan could you please tell me why are there almost a million Armenians in Armenia today that were living in Azerbajan in the 1990s ?
With do respect i know there are alot of history books in Paris.
Dear Aslan living in the USA and else where we Armenians have learned our history well.

by: Jan from: Oberman
June 22, 2011 14:22
Armenia will never give up a hard fought victory of Karabakh. If Armenian returns NK, then the Azeri Pasha Aliyev will want every remaining part of Armenia. He will then follow his own threats and not rest until he kills every Armenian man and makes his troops rape every Armenian woman. He will enslave every remaining Armenian child and induct them into his army.
In Response

by: Papken Hartunian from: USA
June 22, 2011 18:51
It is well said. We must never forget that history is part of reality. If Turks become certain that they could eliminate all of us, I am positive that they would not wait one second. The only reason 2 million Armenians has held 80 millions Turks at bay is that Armenia and Artsakh have guns and brave armenians in our army.

Closing boarders has been crating radical armenians all around the world. This has been the biggest mistake by Turks as to their foreign policy. If they had been smart, they would have kept the boarder open and defuse all armenians within 80 millions and married them and sure enough within 50 years no armenian could have been identified. This is still real danger stragedy against Armenians. Armenia must have open boarders when she alone can control its boarders.

by: b from: world
June 23, 2011 00:16
Enemies of Armenia remember: OPERATION NEMESIS!

by: Kasparov from: Kiev
June 23, 2011 17:03
I laughed so hard, what a piece of propaganda. Reminds me of classical Stalinist mythologies. "Armenian army" what a joke. The once in control of Armenia is the Russian military base and Russian investors. Never forget that.
In Response

by: V from: Yerevan
July 09, 2011 14:04
That "propaganda" as you have put it is based on live facts. Armenian Army ripped "mighty" Azeri military apart, and if it was not for Russia's mediation, Azerbaijan would not avoid a total capitulation. Don't forget that :-)