Armenian Military, the Armenian armed force, plays a key role in maintaining the security, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of the Republic of Armenia.
It goes without saying that armies are considered an essential part of a country and its security.
So, it comes as no surprise that like other countries, Armenia also allocates a large fortune for fighting battles and for strengthening the country militarily.
During the past few years, Armenian Armed Forces have grown rapidly in terms of both size and capability. Though Armenian military is relatively small now, it is highly trained, professional, and well equipped.
Keep scrolling if you want to have a fair idea about the military strengths of Armenia.
Plus, go a bit further to understand how the Armenian military manages to face the challenges of the 21st century and maintain military balance with its rivals.
Armenian Military or Armenian Armed Forces
The Armenian Armed Forces form the military of the Republic of Armenia, which was established on January 28, 1992.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armenian military is the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan. The Ministry of Defence is headed by Vigen Sargsyan, while military command remains under the control of the general staff, headed by Movses Hakobyan, the Chief of Staff and Colonel-General.
Armenian Army (Size-45,850, including 19,950 professional and 25,900 conscripts) is the largest branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia and consists of the ground forces responsible for the country’s land-based operations.
The Role of Armenian Military in Armenia and NK Republic
Since 1994, when ceasefire was reached between the warring parties, together with the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army, Armenian Army has taken an active role in ensuring the defence of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh Republic from the possible eruption of hostilities.
In case of a high intensity conflict the Land Forces, together with the Air Force, Air Defence and Border Guards, form the defence group of the Armenian Armed Forces and are aimed to counter aggression and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia took the bumpy path of developing its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and well-equipped military.
Armenia has also made rapid strides in its military modernization program.
On September 21, 2016, when Armenia was celebrating the 25th anniversary of its independence, the demonstration of the cutting-edge technology like “Iskander” tactical missiles and other advanced weapons, rattled the neighbors Armenia shares borders with.
It is believed that such a missile system enables missiles to reach their target without being detected by air-defence radar systems or missile-intercepting assets.
To conclude we can say that the Armenian Army is the first and the most important achievement for the newly independent republic and the highly trained and professional Armenian military is a major player in maintaining Armenian unity and sovereignty.
Military Academies for Young People
Those who want to pursue a career in the Armenian Armed Forces have a wide variety of choices. The Armenian military operates several military academies teaching students how to ready both their bodies and minds for military service.
Armenian Soldiers singing the hymn of the Armenian army, “Yeraz im Yerkir Hayreni”.
Monte Melkonyan Military Academy
In 1993, a military-training school-college complex was established and named after Lieutenant-Colonel Monte Melkonyan. Since 1997, the college has been given a status of a faculty of higher military-professional education.
In the months of June and July of each school year, the School organizes the admission process. The admission exams are organized in a competitive method in the following subjects:
- Physical Education (chi ups, 100m and 1000m running)
- Armenian language (dictation)
After entering school, students study “Initial Military Preparedness”, “Physical Education,” and “Mountainous Preparedness”.
Subjects like “Physical Education” and Military Preparedness” are aimed at training all-rounded young men, who will be able to protect their Motherland.
Objectives, Discipline and Morals
The Military School places much emphasis on structure, discipline, morals and exemplary personal character.
After school year, students take joint and state graduation examinations in “Physical Education”, “Armenian Language and Literature”, “Mathematics”, “Foreign Language”, and “Armenian History”.
One of the main objectives of the School is to prepare applicants for military educational institutions and to educate future officers.
70-80% of the graduates apply for Armenian and foreign military educational institutions, included:
- Sargsyan Military Institute
- Khamperyants Aviation Institute
- Military educational institutes in foreign countries
However, those students who don’t get into military educational institutions are not left empty-handed. They often go on to be successful, independent thinkers, leaders and devoted citizens to their Motherland, since military education is so much more than just drills and marching.
Vazgen Sargsyan Military Academy
On June 24, 1994, “High Military Multi-Nature Commander College” was established and opened its doors for students.
On January 16, 1998, the “High Military Multi-Nature Commander College” was reestablished as Military Institute and in 2000 was named after Vazgen Sargsyan (Armenian military commander and politician).
The faculty of Infantry trains commanders for motor-infantry, tank, intelligence, field engineer platoons, engineers of military caterpillar and wheeled vehicles and officers with a civil Bachelor’s degree.
The faculty of Artillery trains commanders for artillery platoons, engineers for military and wheeled vehicles and officers with a civil Bachelor’s degree.
Admissions exams are held in the following subjects:
- Armenian Language
The applicants also take physical readiness exam in the Military Institution. A final interview is held with each applicant in order to disclose such characteristic features and skills as flexibility, discipline, moral values, interest and attitude towards military service, etc.
All the subjects in the Institute are taught in Armenian. However, students have a chance to study modern foreign languages as well, such as English, German, Greek, Persian, etc.
After successfully passing the final state exams, students receive their first officer rank (“Lieutenant”), and a relevant professional qualification, after which, they have the exceptional opportunity to serve in Armenian Armed Forces.
Organization of Armenian Military
As already mentioned, the President of the Republic of Armenia is the chief commander of the Armed Forces. The president carries out the general management of the Armed Forces.
Armenian Armed Forces include the complete structure of the Ministry of Defence, and the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Defence bears the responsibility for the Republic protection, creation of the armed forces, development and military preparedness.
The newly-elected Minister is Vigen Sargsyan, who lately was the Chief of Staff of the RA President in 2016. The Minister carries out the immediate management of the Armed Forces.
On October 3, 2016, Movses Hakobyan was appointed as the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia.
The general staff of Armed Forces is responsible for operational command of the Armenian Military and its three major branches.
There are some departments and branches under the control of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces.
The Capacity of Armenian Military
The Armenian Air Force is organized and equipped to provide Armenian ground forces with tactical air support in the form of ground attack and airlift in mountainous terrain.
Armenian Air Force also provided effective support when tensions ran high between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh region from 1992–1994.
The Armenian military’s Special Forces include a standard army Special Forces regiment, and 3+ reconnaissance battalions.
The Special Forces of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh conduct some operations and exercises through fast-attack vehicles.
International Military Cooperation
Armenian Armed Forces have always been willing to strengthen military cooperation with its allies through a number of projects and initiatives that are aimed at enhancing the country’s operational and defence capabilities.
Military Cooperation Between Armenia and Russia
Russia has always been the closest and steadfast ally of the Republic of Armenia since Armenia gained independence in 1991.
The Russian 102nd Military Base, stationed with 3000 soldiers in Gyumri, Armenia, is a shining example of an active cooperation between these two countries.
In early 2005, the 102nd Military Base had 74 tanks, 17 battle infantry vehicles, 148 armored personnel carriers, 84 artillery pieces, 18 MiG-29 fighters, one battery of SA-6 and two batteries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.
Russia also supplies weapons at relatively lower prices of the Russian domestic market as part of a collective security agreement, at the same time trying to maintain the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
At the beginning of 2009, Azerbaijani media published an article claiming that Russia had exported huge variety of weapons to Armenia throughout 2008 costing about $800 million.
However, it is noteworthy, that Moscow supplies almost the same weapons to Armenia, which it previously supplied to Azerbaijan. This fact undoubtedly improves the military balance between these two countries.
Military Cooperation Between Armenia and the USA
In early 2003, United States Department of Defence announced several major military programs in the Caucasus increasing its military clout in the region.
In 2004, Armenia deployed a unit of 46 soldiers, which included bomb-disposal experts, doctors, and transport specialists, to Iraq as part of the American-led Multi-National Force Iraq.
In 2005, the United States allocated $7 million to modernize the military communications of the Armenian Armed Forces.
Since 2003, Armenia and the Kansas National Guard have exchanged military delegations as part of a National Guard Bureau program in an effort to share ideas and the best practices for military and emergency management.
Peacekeeping Operations by the Armenian Military
Armenia attaches great importance to its participation in international peacekeeping operations. As a result, Armenia cooperates with the UN Department of Peacekeeping operations (DPKO).
In 2014, Armenia deployed 33 peacekeepers to Lebanon who serve under the Italian contingent and fulfill headquarter security functions.
Armenia also contributes to NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Armenia joined the Kosovo Force in Kosovo in 2004. Currently there are 70 Armenian soldiers serving in Kosovo as peacekeepers.
Armenia deploys 130 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
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