Armenia buys four of Russia’s newest fighter jets
Yerevan and Moscow have signed a contract for the purchase of four Su-30SM multi-role fighters – the Armenian Armed Forces will receive the aircraft in 2020.
Details of the deal
The Armenian Armed Forces will receive new aircraft rather than second-hand aircraft for the first time in many years.
Russia sold the fighters on the cheap: in addition to the fact that Russia recently gave Armenia a loan of $100 million, Armenia received the airplanes at domestic Russian prices, rather than at export prices.
The concessions to Armenia were made given it is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), acting under the auspices of Russia:
“Despite the fact that the contract is commercial and the purchase is carried out at the expense of credit funds issued by [Russia], the cost of each [aircraft] for the Armenian air force will be as much as they cost for the armed forces of the Russian Federation. To Russia, such conditions look like a real gift.
“In fact, this is the first contract concluded with the Armenian Defense Ministry under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. It was important for us to confirm the strength of our position with our ally in the CSTO,” Kommersant reported, citing a top figure of the Russian aviation industry.
The Armenian Ministry of Defence has not specified the cost of the deal.
Back in 2012, Moscow and Yerevan signed a contract, according to which Armenia was to receive at least 12 fighters. However, that agreement never entered into force due to financial problems in Armenia.
Why does Armenia need Su-30s?
Military observer Leonid Nersisyan notes that this will be the first appearance of military aircraft in Armenia.
“Warplanes become more and more outdated every year. In this light, it would be very convenient and logical to replace the existing machines with these Su-30SMs … The shock capabilities of the Su-30SM, including the use of Kh-58E anti-radar missiles, make it possible to effectively fight against the air defense of Azerbaijan, especially since the Armenian arsenal also has the Iskander missile system, which can also be used for these tasks.
“On the whole, the appearance of the Su-30SM fighters in service with the Armenian armed forces will markedly increase the offensive capabilities … as well as jeopardize Azerbaijan’s strategic oil and gas infrastructure.”