YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — New state-of-the-art missiles acquired from Russia recently allow Armenia to strike strategic facilities of its arch-foes, First Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said over the weekend.
The Armenian military demonstrated the Iskander missiles as well as several other Russian-made weapons for the first time on September 21 during a parade in Yerevan dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the country’s independence.
With a firing range of at least 300 kilometers, Iskander systems are known for their precision and ability to overcome modern missile defense shields. Their acquisition by Yerevan was first reported by an Armenian army general in April.
In an interview Tonoyan said that Iskander’s range is “long enough to hit facilities of critical significance of any enemy.” He did not elaborate on those facilities, stressing instead that the missiles will primarily play a “preventive role.”
Armenian officials have said in the past that Azerbaijan’s vital oil and gas installations could be targeted if Baku attempts to end the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict by force. The Armenian army was until recently able to do attack them only with older Scud-B and Tochka-U missiles with ranges of roughly 300 and 100 kilometers respectively.
Tonoyan refused to disclose any financial details of the Iskanders’ delivery, saying only that Armenia tapped its state budget to pay for the missiles.