MOSCOW — The Russian government has granted Armenia a $200 million loan for the purchase of military products, according to Russian media reports. Under the terms of the 10-year export loan Armenia would have to pay 10 percent for all purchases, with the rest to be covered by the credit.
The Russian government posted on one of its websites a copy of the loan agreement that was signed by the two sides in Yerevan in June last year. Under the terms of the loan Armenia will buy Russian Smerch rocket launchers and ammunition, Igla-S air defense missile systems, Avtobaza-M ground-based radar jamming and deception systems, the TOS-1A heavy flame-throwing systems with transporter-loader vehicles, 9M113M guided missiles, RPG-26 grenade launchers, Dragunov sniper rifles, Tiger armored vehicles, engineering means and communication systems.
The heaviest weapon on that list is the Smerch multi-launch rocket system with a firing range of up to 90 kilometers. One of the most destructive weapons of its kind in the world, it can fire 12 300-milimeter rockets in less than a minute.
An annex to the 2015 Russian-Armenian agreement revealed on Thursday says that the Armenian government will also spend the $200 million loan on buying Russian-made anti-tank weapons, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, demining and communication equipment, armored personnel carriers and heavy military trucks.
The anti-tank systems include 9M133 guided missiles that first went into service with the Russian army in the late 1990s.The 135-milimeter rockets can supposedly destroy tanks within a 4-kilometer range.
Citing another Russian-Armenian accord signed in 2013, Armenian military official stress that Yerevan can now buy brand new weapons at domestic Russian prices that are well below international market-based levels. The 2015 loan agreement makes a reference to that deal.
The military alliance with Russia has already enabled Armenia to receive many Russian weapons at discount prices or even free of charged over the past two decades. That has put it in a position to fully or partly offset Azerbaijan’s massive military buildup fueled by oil revenues. Ohanian thanked Moscow for its “huge” military assistance when he met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in Moscow in December.