Armenia has gone a long way in building a defense industry that can now repair and maintain its practically entire military arsenal, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said on Wednesday.
“Armenia began creating and establishing a military-industrial complex almost from scratch in 1992. Today the repair and maintenance of the entire range of weapons and military hardware is carried out at our enterprises,” he said in a speech at Yerevan State University.
Few details of that largely secret and state-owned industry have been made public by the Armenian military so far. Some of its output was demonstrated during a military parade in Yerevan last September. That included unmanned military aircraft, flamethrowers and multiple grenade launchers. Armenia is also believed to manufacture bullets and other ammunition.
Ohanian mentioned the “Krunk” (Crane) drones in his speech. He said they were designed by specialists teaching at the Military Aviation Institute in Yerevan but gave no other details. A senior Defense Ministry official said last year that the drones can fly “deep into enemy territory.”
Visiting Yerevan in late November, Nikolay Bordyuzha, secretary general of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, spoke of growing cooperation between the Armenian and Russian defense industries. He said they are now setting up joint ventures in Armenia for the “maintenance, repair and modernization of some types of weaponry.”
Ohanian spoke on Wednesday during a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Armed Forces that will be officially celebrated later this month. He said that throughout its two-decade existence the army has increasingly drawn on the expertise of local scientists and engineers and intends to increase that reliance.
“The army is a large and constantly developing integrity of military-technical structures and high-technology infrastructures,” he said. “Let me give a number of characteristic examples.
“Twenty years ago our army signalers fought [in the Nagorno-Karabakh war] with assault rifles in their hands and radios on their backs. Several years later they created an automated system of troop management which is now undergoing modernization.”