YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Armenia will reportedly buy $41 million worth of anti-drone military equipment from India in a fresh arms deal between the two countries that have significantly deepened bilateral ties in the last few years.
Citing unnamed “officials,” the Indian news website Euarasiantimes.com reported on Wednesday that Yerevan has already signed a supply contract with the Indian company manufacturing the Zen Anti-Drone System.
The deal calls for not only the delivery of an unspecified number of ZADS units to Armenia but also their maintenance and training of Armenian military personnel, the publication said, adding that the company, Zen Technologies, will open an office in Armenia for that purpose.
ZADS is a new system that can detect combat drones and neutralize them through communication jamming. The Indian army is due to receive the first such systems next March.
“Armenia realizes that once Indian armed forces induct it, it must be good,” Eurasiantimes.com quoted an Indian official as saying.
The Armenian Defense Ministry did not confirm the report. It normally does not comment on its arms acquisitions.
The Azerbaijani army heavily used Turkish and Israeli-manufactured drones during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh and subsequent clashes along Azerbaijan’s border with Armenia. The Armenian military is therefore keen to boost its air defenses.
India and Armenia have stepped up defense cooperation since the Karabakh war during which India’s arch-foe Pakistan strongly supported Azerbaijan. In September 2022, the Armenian Defense Ministry reportedly signed contracts for the purchase of $245 million worth of Indian multiple-launch rocket systems, anti-tank rockets and ammunition.
Indian media reported afterwards that the two sides signed in November 2022 a $155 million deal to supply Indian 155-milimeter howitzers to the Armenian army.
An Indian defense publication, idrw.org, reported in September this year that Armenia is due to receive a total of 90 ATAGS howitzers. Six of them have already been delivered to the South Caucasus nations while the 84 others will be shipped over the next three years, it said.
Russia has long been Armenia’s principal supplier of weapons and ammunition. But with Russian-Armenian relations worsening and Russia embroiled in the large-scale war with Ukraine, Yerevan has been looking for other arms suppliers. Armenian leaders have implied over the past year that Moscow has failed to supply more weapons to Yerevan despite Russian-Armenian defense contracts signed after the 2020 war.
Late last month, Armenia signed two arms deals with France. One of them entitles it to buying three sophisticated radar systems from the French defense group Thales. The French and Armenian defense ministers also signed in Paris a “letter of intent” on the future delivery of French short-range surface-to-air missiles. No financial details of these agreements or delivery dates were made public.
France, which is home to an influential Armenian community, has become in recent years Armenia’s leading Western backer in the international arena. India also supports the country in the conflict with Azerbaijan.