Armenia paraded newly-acquired weapon systems, including 9K720 Iskander (SS-26 'Stone') short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), during its Independence Day parade on 21 September.
The revelation marks Armenia as the first export customer for the Russian system. Two Iskander launchers and two reloading vehicles were seen during the parade.
Other new equipment paraded included 9K58 Smerch 300 mm multiple-rocket launcher (MRL) systems, Infauna electronic warfare systems and a pair of Buk transporter erector launcher and radars (TELARs), albeit without any missiles. Armenia also paraded most of its existing inventory of kit, including S-300 air defence systems, WM-80 MRLs, R-17 'Scud' ballistic missiles, 9M79 Tochka SRBMs and others.
Armenia's president Serge Sargsyan and Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan have hinted since late last year that Iskanders had been delivered to Armenia, but this is the first confirmation of the delivery.
In February 2015 Russian officials published a list of weapons systems that Armenia would be buying from Russia under a USD200 million credit agreement. While Smerch MRLs were part of that list, Iskander and Buk were not.
According to military and industry sources cited by Russia's Vedomosti newspaper, Russia likely delivered to Armenia one Iskander division set (typically four launchers). One Vedomosti source suggested the missile system's acquisition was intended to deter Azerbaijan from attacking main Armenian population centres, as has been threatened by Azerbaijani military officials. The export standard Iskander-E has a 480 kg payload, a variety of warhead options, and a stated range of 280 km and claims under 10-meter accuracy.
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