Caucasus Reality 19 september — 15:03

Armenia got four Iskander complexes (Russian sources)

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On 16 September, social networks published photos made at the rehearsal of the parade in Yerevan (planned for 21 September and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenia's independence) and depicting machines of the Iskander operational-tactical missile complex. As reports the Russian newspaper 'Vedomosti,' it was impossible to get the comments of the Ministry of Defence of Armenia, while the phone of a representative of Rosoboronexport did not answer.

However, two managers of the Russian military-industrial complex confirmed the supply of Iskander complex in the amount of one division to the Armenian Army, adding that Rosoboronexport had no relation to it: these weapons were purchased on the basis of agreements on arms transfers within the CSTO, bypassing the Russian state intermediary.

At the end of the last year the official website of the Russian legal information published an addendum to the Russian-Armenian agreement on a loan of $200 million allocated for arms purchases. The Iskander complex was not mentioned in this document, and, according to the manager of the defence industry enterprise, the contract for the delivery was concluded without the involvement of the proceeds from this loan.

Iskander complex was developed in the 1990s - early 2000s in the Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau. Until now, this high-precision and long-range system (range of export options is up to 280 km) was not exported to any country. In 2005, a contract was signed for the supply of Iskander to Syria, but it was not carried out at the request of the Government of Israel.

According to retired Colonel Victor Murakhovsky, the minimum possible for the delivery unit of the complex is a division with four launchers (two missiles each). It can be assumed that such a number was delivered to Armenia, expert says. The missile can be equipped with both a high-explosive fragmentation and a cassette warhead with self aiming elements and an effective means of destruction of command posts, artillery positions, including rocket artillery, adds Murakhovsky. In this capacity, Iskander is interesting for the Armenian army.

According to a person close to the Ministry of Defence of the countries-members of the CSTO, after supplies to Azerbaijan from Russia, Ukraine and Israel of long-range multiple rocket launchers, in Armenia there were fears that they would be used for attacks on settlements, and in April, the Azerbaijani Defence Minister, Zakir Hasanov threatened to deal a crushing blow to Stepanakert (Khankendi) if necessary.

According to Vedomosti's interlocutor, the Iskander complex can become a serious deterrent to implement such plans.

Note, however, that Azerbaijan has the means to neutralise Iskanders. In Nakhchivan among other places there are long-range missiles that can strike at Yerevan and Metsamor NPP, which may force Armenia to abandon the use of the Iskander complex in a possible large-scale war with Azerbaijan.

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