Russia announced on Tuesday that it will deploy a “new batch” of modernized MiG-29 fighter jets and one more transport helicopter at its military base in Armenia in the second half of this year.
“The MiG-29 aircraft delivered to the Russian airbase after capital repairs reliably protect the airspace of the Republic of Armenia within the framework of the united air-defense system of [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries,” read a statement released by the Russia’s Southern Military District.
The statement did not specify whether the Russian military will increase their number or only upgrade jets already deployed in Armenia. It said only that technicians at the Erebuni airfield in Yerevan will start preparing this month “specially equipped hangars for the new aviation hardware.”
The Russian base numbering up to 5,000 servicemen is thought to have had 18 MiG-29s until now. At least some of those jets were modernized by the beginning of 2014. They reportedly had their electronic targeting and navigation systems upgraded.
The latest announcement by the Russian military came two weeks after Russia and Armenia set up a new joint air-defense system with an agreement signed by their defense ministers in Moscow.
The Russian and Armenian militaries have been jointly protecting Armenia’s airspace ever since the mid-1990s. It is still not clear how their “united regional system of air defense in the Caucasus region of collective security” will differ from the existing one.
Earlier in December, Russia deployed 13 combat helicopters at Erebuni in line with another Russian-Armenian agreement reached in 2013.